said Friday that NATO warplanes may indeed have hit rebel forces near
the town of Brega on Thursday but offered no apology for what was
apparently a deadly mistake.
The secretary-general of NATO,
“This is a very unfortunate incident. I strongly
regret the loss of life,” Fogh Rasmussen said. “I can assure you that
we do our utmost to avoid civilian casualties.”
Meanwhile, the first-ever U.N. ship containing tons
of humanitarian supplies brought relief to the besieged city of
Misurata. The ship, chartered by the World Food Program, included food
and medical supplies for the tens of thousands of civilians trapped by
A NATO-led alliance that includes the U.S. is
leading a battle to prevent Gadhafi’s forces from hurting civilians in
several parts of the country, especially the rebel-controlled east,
where forces loyal and opposed to the longtime ruler of
NATO appeared to concede that for the second time in
less than a week its actions may have resulted in the deaths of rebel
“It would appear that two of our strikes yesterday
(Thursday) may have resulted in the deaths of a number of (Transitional
National Council) forces,” Harding said from
He said that the seesaw fighting on the road to Ajdabiya, northeast of
Brega, had made the situation extremely confusing and hard to track.
“The situation in the area is still very fluid, with
tanks and other vehicles moving in different directions, making it very
difficult to distinguish who may be operating them. In addition, until
this time we had not seen the TNC operating tanks,” the British officer
He added that it was not NATO’s responsibility to
try to improve lines of communication with the rebels in order to avoid
more mistaken airstrikes.
“It is not for us, trying to protect civilians of
whatever persuasion, to improve communications with those rebel
forces,” he said.
World Food Program Executive Director
A former Libyan energy minister who escaped the city
on a fishing boat told news outlets that Kadafi’s armed forces were
subjecting civilians in Misurata to constant bombardment, shooting
people at random and targeting their access to water supplies.
“They bombarded food stores, supermarkets, water
supplies and the harbor,” he was quoted as saying. “It has been like
this for so long that it has become natural for people. It is scary,
but the fear becomes normal after a while.”
He also said that he saw no future for Gadhafi or his sons in a future
He urged NATO to quickly end the conflict by
targeting all of Gadhafi’s military equipment. “NATO is not doing the
job well,” he said.
(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.
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