AntiWar.com & Reuters – 2011-09-22 12:03:09
Gadhafi Spokesman: NATO Strikes in Sirte Killed 151 Civilians
John Glaser / AntiWar.com
“Look at Palestine — more than 60 years legitimate struggle for a state and still nobody wants to hear the case of the Palestinian people to have a seat at the UN. Yet some armed gangs, supported by NATO, get their flag raised at the UN before they’re in even in control of the whole country. The Libyan people didn’t vote for that flag. It’s all through violence and rockets and bombs.”
— Moussa IIbrahim
(September 22, 2011) — Rebel attacks accompanied by NATO airstrikes on the Libyan city of Sirte have killed 151 civilians, according to a spokesman for the fugitive leader Muammar Gadhafi.
“Between yesterday and this morning, 151 civilians were killed inside their homes as the Grad rockets and other explosives fell upon their heads,” Moussa Ibrahim told Reuters. “The city hospital stopped functioning altogether last night. Patients died simply because nothing can be done to help them.”
His claims could not be immediately verified because Sirte is besieged on all sides by invading encroaching rebel forces and communication is down from weeks of NATO bombing. The attacks on Sirte, which contains both militant Gadhafi loyalists as well as civilians, began weeks ago and humanitarian conditions there have been dire, as large numbers of civilians have been displaced due to the fighting, lack of electricity, water, food, and medical care for the residents.
The Gadhafi spokesman made similar assertions last week when he claimed that NATO strikes had killed over 350 civilians. World leaders and human rights organizations have urged for investigations into previous incidents of massive civilian casualties at the hands of NATO, but no comments have been made yet regarding the latest incidents.
UPDATE 1-NATO Strikes, NTC Kill 151 in Sirte: Gaddafi Aide
Barry Malone / Reuters
SIRTE, Libya (September 22, 2011) – Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s spokesman told Reuters on Thursday that NATO air strikes and shelling of Sirte by interim government forces on Wednesday and Thursday killed 151 people. He also said the city’s main hospital had run out of medical supplies and power.
His claims could not immediately be verified as Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, is largely cut off from communication and is besieged on three fronts by ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) forces. NATO comment was not immediately available.
“Between yesterday and this morning, 151 civilians were killed inside their homes as the Grad rockets and other explosives fell upon their heads,” Moussa Ibrahim said in a satellite phone call to Reuters in Tunis. “The city hospital stopped functioning altogether last night. Patients died simply because nothing can be done to help them.”
Ibrahim made similar claims last week when he said that NATO raids on Sirte had hit a residential building and a hotel, killing 354 people. A spokesman at the time said NATO was aware of the allegations and such claims were often unfounded.
“ROCKETS AND BOMBS”
Sirte is one of only two major towns still under the control of pro-Gaddafi forces after the NTC took over most of another stronghold, Sabha, on Wednesday. Ibrahim called on the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, foreign media and rights groups to try to get into the centre of Sirte.
“We hold them directly responsible to expose the crimes committed against a whole city with the vigour and energy they had when they believed they were helping the cities of Misrata and Zawiyah from Libyan armed forces,” he said, referring to a devastating Gaddafi bombardment of those cities during the war.
NATO says its air strikes in Libya since March have not killed large numbers of civilians.
Ibrahim also attacked the raising of Libya’s new flag at the United Nations on Tuesday. “Look at Palestine — more than 60 years legitimate struggle for a state and still nobody wants to hear the case of the Palestinian people to have a seat at the UN,” Ibrahim said. “Yet some armed gangs, supported by NATO, get their flag raised at the UN before they’re in even in control of the whole country. The Libyan people didn’t vote for that flag. It’s all through violence and rockets and bombs.”
NATO air strikes kill 354 in Sirte: Moussa Ibrahim
Alexander Dziadosz / Reuters
SIRTE, Libya (September 17, 2011) â€“ Muammar Gaddafi’s spokesman told Reuters on Saturday that NATO air strikes on the ousted leader’s home city of Sirte overnight had hit a residential building and a hotel, killing 354 people.
Fighters loyal to the interim government were fighting street to street, slowly advancing into the city, but have been unable to dislodged Gaddafi loyalists defending it, Reuters journalists embedded with the interim government force said.
The city echoed with the sound of heavy shelling and gunfire. National Transitional Council interim government fighters said they had seen NATO warplanes above the city on Friday but did not know if they had bombed.
“NATO attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the city’s main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential flats,” Gaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said in a call from a satellite phone to the Reuters office in Tunis.
“The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night,” he added. The Tamin building is a landmark building in the center of Sirte, named after the Tamin insurance company.
Reuters was unable to verify Ibrahim’s account of the incident. Gaddafi-held areas have been cut off from communication since the fall of Tripoli.
“How can anyone justify NATO’s murderous acts in support of an armed group against whole cites and tribes in Libya?” Ibrahim said, adding there was no foreign media in the center of Sirte.
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