Libya says almost 100 civilians died in air strikes

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2011 3:17 PM
Libya says almost 100 civilians died in air strikes

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya said Thursday the civilian death toll from five days of coalition air strikes had reached almost 100 and accused Western governments of fighting on the side of the rebels.

Mussa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, also said the Libyan government believed Western forces were planning to attack its broadcasting infrastructure, possibly later Thursday.

"What is happening now is that Western governments are fighting on the side of the rebels. This was not permitted by the United Nations resolution," he told reporters.

"We have received intelligence that our broadcasting and communications infrastructure will be targeted, possibly tonight, by the air strikes. ... This would, if this takes place, be very immoral and illegal. These are civilian targets."

He said the civilian death toll from allied air strikes was "getting close to 100." Western military officials deny any civilians have been killed in its campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from government forces.

"We have kept out word. We have a ceasefire in place. We are only responding to the air strikes, which is our right of course, and the rebels in the east are attacking our army under the cover of the air strikes," Ibrahim said.

(Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Matthew Jones)