Nato alliance has admitted “a weapons systems failure” may have led to civilian casualties in Sunday morning’s air strike in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The alliance said the intended target was a missile site, but one weapon did not hit it.
The Libyan government earlier said Nato had bombed a residential area, killing nine civilians, including two babies. Meanwhile, the Libyan rebel leaders said their administration had run out of money as donors’ pledges had not materialised. Nato is enforcing a UN resolution to protect civilians in Libya.
On Sunday the commander of operation Unified Protector, Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, said: “Nato regrets the loss of innocent civilian lives and takes great care in conducting strikes against a regime determined to use violence against its own citizens. Although we are still determining the specifics of this event, indications are that a weapons system failure may have caused this incident.” Sunday’s attack, in one of the capital’s poorer neighbourhoods, happened shortly after midnight in which nine people were killed, including two babies, and another 18 people injured. Scores of men were working alongside the emergency services, pulling at sections of rubble and looking for bodies.
Meanwhile Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim blamed that Nato had deliberately targeted civilian houses Nato’s mission – to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians using “all necessary measures” short of a ground invasion – began in March in response to Col Muammar Gaddafi’s violent response to a popular uprising. The intervention was mandated by the UN, and led by France, Britain and the US until the end of March, when Nato took over. Having initially been given 90 days – which was due to expire on June 27th has been extended for a further 90 days.
Report by Reuben