NATO strike on houses kills 9 civilians; 2 children
Libya’s government said NATO warplanes struck a residential neighborhood in the capital Sunday and killed nine civilians, including two children, adding to its accusations that the alliance is striking nonmilitary targets.
NATO acknowledged Sunday that one of its missiles - intended for a military site in Tripoli - did not strike the intended target, and that a possible weapons system failure may have caused a number of civilian casualties.
"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," said Lt. General Charles Bouchard, Commander of Operation Unified Protector. "Although we are still determining the specifics of this event, indications are that a weapons system failure may have caused this incident," he added.
NATO stated that every mission is planned and executed with tremendous care to avoid civilian casualties. There have been more than 11,500 sorties since the LIbya campaign began.
It was not possible to independently verify the government’s account of what happened.
Qadaffi’s foreign minister claimed the airstrike was a "deliberate" attack on civilians, and called for a "global jihad" on the West in response.
Early in the morning, journalists based in the Libyan capital were rushed by government officials to the damaged building, which appeared to have been partially under construction. Reporters were escorted back to the site during the day, where children’s toys, teacups and dust-covered mattresses could be seen amid the rubble.
Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi told reporters nine civilians, including two children, were killed in the explosion and said 18 people were wounded. He said the strike was a "deliberate attack on a civilian neighborhood," and follows other alleged targeting of nonmilitary targets such as a hotel, oxygen factory and civilian vehicles.
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Top Image: In this photo taken on a government-organized tour, members of the media and others examine the remains of a damaged residential building in Tripoli, June 19, 2011. The Libyan government accused NATO of bombing a residential neighborhood in the capital and killing civilians, adding to its charges that the alliance is striking nonmilitary targets. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)