Libya says NATO airstrike hits residential area

TRIPOLI, Libya — The Libyan government said civilians were killed Sunday in a NATO airstrike that struck a residential neighborhood in Tripoli, adding to charges that the alliance is hitting nonmilitary targets.

Journalists based in the Libyan capital were taken by government officials to a neighborhood where it says the strike occurred in the early hours of Sunday. They were shown a destroyed building as rescue efforts were underway.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the damage was caused by NATO rockets and bombs. He wasn’t immediately able to provide the number of casualties, but said there were no military facilities anywhere near the damaged building.

“This is targeting civilian areas of Tripoli,” he said. “We know that NATO is accelerating its operations against us.”

Journalists taken to a hospital after seeing the damaged building were shown at least four people said to be killed in the strike, including two young children.

It was not possible to independently verify the government’s account of what happened.

Officials increasingly have sought to highlight what they say are attacks on civilian targets by NATO warplanes by taking journalists to visit alleged bombing sites. Foreign journalists in Tripoli are not allowed to travel and report freely and are almost always shadowed by government minders.

On Friday, Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi accused NATO of a “new level of aggression” in recent days, and claimed that the military alliance intentionally targeted civilian buildings, including a hotel and a university. He has called on the United Nations to take action to stop NATO’s daily bombing runs.

The most recent figures from Libya’s Health Ministry show 856 civilians have been killed in NATO airstrikes since they began in March. The figure could not be independently verified, and previous government-announced tolls from individual strikes have proven to be exaggerated.

NATO, which has a mandate to protect Libyan civilians, has been ramping up the pressure on Gadhafi’s regime as a four-month uprising devolved into a civil war. It rejects allegations it targets civilians.

“We are conducting operations with utmost care and precision to avoid civilian casualties. Civilian casualties figures mentioned by the Libyan regime are pure propaganda,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Saturday.

Melvin reported from Brussels. Associated Press writers Hadeel al-Shalchi in Dafniya, Libya, and Sarah El Deeb in Cairo contributed to this report.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Construction crews demolish public housing  homes at the Baker Heights in Everett’s Delta Neighborhood on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Chuck Taylor / The Herald)
Baker Heights site no longer on the table for WSU expansion

As demolition proceeds, it’s unclear what the Everett Housing Authority will do with roughly 10 acres.

Rick Steves has supported a number of local projects with donations of $1 million or more.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Travel guru Rick Steves will be Edmonds parade grand marshal

The Edmonds Chamber was finally able to honor the native son now that the pandemic is keeping him home.

A house fire displaced seven people and killed one dog Saturday, June 12, 2021, on Chain Lake Road in Monroe. (Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
7 displaced as family escapes Monroe house fire, dog killed

People honked to alert three occupants of the home to flames Saturday morning.

Detectives investigate killing of woman, 23, in Smokey Point

She had “obvious signs of trauma,” according to the sheriff’s office. A 25-year-old man was arrested.

Woman injured after shooting at south Everett 7-Eleven

She was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive. The suspects fled the scene.

Vandalism in Lake Stevens prompts city to install cameras

Park bathrooms have been the main targets. The mayor hopes surveillance and watchful citizens will be deterrents.

FILE - In this May 26, 2020, file photo, a sign at the headquarters for the Washington state Employment Security Department is shown at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state's rush to get unemployment benefits to residents who lost jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak left it vulnerable to criminals who made off with hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
State’s unemployment recipients must look for work after July 4

The change comes after Washington reported the third straight weekly decline in jobless claims.

One-time payments of $1,250 proposed for some county workers

Another proposal by County Executive Somers would boost hourly pay by $4 for grocery store workers.

Shinji Maeda steps out of his plane waving American and Japanese flags after completing his round-the-world tour that took him to 18 different countries on Friday, June 11, 2021 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 22,000 miles and 18 countries, he landed in Snohomish

Partially blind Japanese native Shinji Maeda came to the U.S. to become an aviator. Then he toured the world.

Most Read