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NATO ‘Won’t Apologize’ For Strike On Libya Rebels
April 11, 2011Posted by on
NATO has refused to apologize for an air strike on Libyan rebel tanks that killed at least two people, saying that the situation on the ground has been “extremely fluid.”
The April 7 air strike mistakenly hit a tank near the eastern oil town of Brega, site of daily skirmishes between forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and the opposition.
Rear Admiral Russell Harding, deputy commander of NATO’s Libya operations, told a news briefing today that the alliance had no previous information that the rebels were using tanks.
Earlier, the head of rebel forces in eastern Libya, Abdel Fattah Younes, told a news conference in Benghazi that the air strike did not cause tension with NATO, although the rebels wanted an explanation.
“There are a lot of people asking right now who bombed our tanks,” Younes said. “Most probably NATO mistakenly struck us, but at the same time it is difficult to strike by mistake 20 tanks deployed in the desert.”
Meanwhile, AP reported that thousands of civilians and fighters fled the nearby rebel-held city of Ajdabiya after reports that Qaddafi’s forces gained ground in the chaos after the bombing.
It was the second time in less than a week that rebels said NATO had bombed their comrades by mistake.
Thirteen were killed in an air strike not far from the same spot on April 2.
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