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Nato And Libya Trade Accusations: Air Strike May Have Gone Wrong Over Weekend
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Nato And Libya Trade Accusations: Air Strike May Have Gone Wrong Over Weekend

Moammar Gadhafi has had some sharp words for NATO recently and vice versa. In the latest round of verbal jousting, the Libyan government has not pulled any punches, flat out accusing NATO of “cold blood murder”. An air strike over the weekend may be the nail in that coffin.

Originally, NATO disavowed any knowledge of the air strike at all, saying it just did not happen. The following day, it was admitted that NATO was investigating the incident which may have caused injuries in a residential area. Finally, NATO accepted responsibility for the air strike which destroyed five houses and one farm in the area of Surman which sits just west of the capital city of Tripoli. One of those homes belongs to one of Gadhafi’s top aides who was not present during the air strike. According to the Libyan government, some fifteen people died in that attack, including three children. Those children were two six year olds and one four year old.

In response, NATO claimed that the intended target was a military missile site and that there might have been a weapons system failure that caused the rockets to be off target. Spokespeople for NATO have repeatedly stated that there is no intended targeting of civilians and residential areas and that Gadhafi himself may be using certain areas as shields for his military operations. Those claims have been largely scoffed at by the Libyan government as well.

The Libyan Health Ministry has reported that the number of civilian deaths caused by NATO air strikes could be as high as 856 (not including the latest 15), but there has been no way to confirm or refute that number through independent means. NATO has been stepping up the number and the intensity of day time raids in an effort to oust Gadhafi but have been largely unsuccessful in their efforts.

NATO spokeswoman, Oona Lungescu has called the Libyan claims that NATO is purposely targeting civilians “outrageous”.

The European Union Foreign Affairs Council has increased monetary sanctions against the Libyan regime, freezing the assets of six separate port authorities that are under the regime’s immediate control. Other financial sanctions may be coming against Libya as well. For his part, Gadhafi has called for world wide jihad in response to the continued air strikes in his country by foreign invaders. The official government stand is that the Libyan people are behind the regime and that it is only the angry “minority” that is rebelling. NATO contends that the rebellion started four months ago to ask for regime change and that there are far more dissenters than what journalists are being allowed to portray. In addition, there have been a number of additional claims leveled against the regime, including mass rapes, false imprisonments and deliberate attempts to block humanitarian aid, especially in outlying areas where aid can be difficult to obtain in the first place.


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