Jerusalem Post & PressTV & Reuters – 2011-04-01 00:20:53
Vatican: Airstrikes Killed 40 Civilians in Tripoli
The Jerusalem Post
ROME (March 31, 2011) — At least 40 civilians have been killed in airstrikes by Western forces on Tripoli, the top Vatican official in the Libyan capital told a Catholic news agency on Thursday citing witnesses.
“The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli,” said Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
“I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighborhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people,” he told Fides, the news agency of the Vatican missionary arm.
Libyan officials have taken foreign reporters to the sites of what they say were the aftermath of western air strikes on Tripoli but evidence of civilian casualties have been inconclusive.
Western powers say they have no confirmed evidence of civilian casualties.
Also on Thursday, British Foriegn Secretary William Hague said the defection of Libya’s former Foreign Secretary Moussa Koussa to Britain would encourage others close to Muammar Gaddafi to abandon the Libyan leader.
He said Koussa, who flew into a British military airbase on Thursday, had not been offered any immunity from British or international prosecution and was voluntarily talking to British officials.
“Gaddafi must be asking himself who will be the next to abandon him,” Hague told a news conference.
US-led Airstrikes Kill Dozens in Libya
(Mar 31, 2011) — Opposition forces have returned fire with rockets and rocket-propelled grenades to shelling by forces loyal to ruler Muammer Gaddafi in the eastern oil city of Brega. This is as the opposition tries to prevent the government from retaking nearby Ajdabiya The Guardian reported.
The clashes come one day after Gaddafi’s forces recaptured the eastern oil town of Ras Lanuf and forced the opposition to flee further east.
On Wednesday, Libyan’s Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa left his post and defected to London. Tripoli’s government spokesman says Koussa resigned to undergo medical treatment in Tunisia.
British Foreign Minister William Hague says London has not offered immunity to Koussa and the British authorities are now debriefing him.
NATO is now in full command from the US of all Libyan operations. NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said arming the rebels against Gaddafi’s regime is beyond the scope of the Western military alliance’s operations.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also rejected the idea of arming the revolutionary forces.
Reports say that US and British agents are scoping out targets for airstrikes and assessing how to assist revolutionary forces.
This comes as French diplomatic representatives and a US diplomatic envoy have met with the opposition leadership in the eastern city of Benghazi. The exact topic of the talks remains unclear.
NATO Admits Afghan Civilian Deaths
(March 30, 2011) — The US-led NATO force in Afghanistan said an air strike targeting insurgents accidentally killed two children and two women in the south of the country. Afghan authorities at the weekend said that seven civilians, three of them children were killed in a NATO air strike targeting rebels in the restive province of Helmand, a militant stronghold.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which conducted the attack said today it had launched a probe after the allegations of civilian deaths in a raid aimed at two vehicles in the province’s Sangin district.
The force said its joint assessment with Afghan authorities of the incident found that four civilians, two children and as many women were mistakenly killed in the attack. Two rebels were also killed, it added.
“Both vehicles were part of the deliberate operation, and both were deliberately targeted as part of one vehicle movement.
“Regarding gender of wounded and killed. Three adult males were killed, one a known insurgent and the other two his associates. Two women and two children were also killed unfortunately,” ISAF told AFP.
Earlier it confirmed the civilian deaths in a statement. A woman and two children were also injured in the strikes, a military spokesman told AFP, adding that three minors survived the attack unharmed.
Civilian casualties in military operations are highly sensitive in Afghanistan as coalition troops battle to curb a Taliban-led insurgency ahead of a planned handover of security to Afghan forces.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.