NATO admits to civilian deaths in Tripoli air strike

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2011 4:34 PM
NATO admits to civilian deaths in Tripoli air strike

LONDON (Reuters) - NATO admitted it carried out an air strike that killed civilians in Tripoli on Sunday.

"Although we are still determining the specifics of this event, indications are that a weapons system failure may have caused this incident," said Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of Operation Unified Protector in a statement.

NATO said a military missile site was the intended target of the air strikes and acknowledged the civilian casualties.

Early on Sunday Libyan officials took reporters to a residential area in Tripoli's Souq al-Juma district where the reporters saw several bodies being pulled out of the rubble of a destroyed building.

Later, in a hospital, they were shown the bodies of two children and three adults who, officials said, were among those killed in the strike.

Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi said the NATO strike was a "pathetic attempt .... to break the spirit of the people of Tripoli and allow small numbers of terrorists to cause instability and disorder in the peaceful city."

Libyan officials earlier put the death toll at seven but Obeidi said there were nine dead and 18 wounded.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)