NATO draws criticism for deadly Tripoli bombings
The Libyan government said leader Muammar Qaddafi’s youngest son, the relatively unknown Saif al-Arab Qaddafi, was killed in a NATO airstrike on a Tripoli house Saturday evening.
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The airstrike and resulting deaths are likely to increase the accusations that NATO has overstepped the bounds of a United Nations Security Council resolution that authorized it to protect civilians. It comes after Libyan rebels rejected Colonel Qaddafi’s offer Saturday of a conditional cease-fire and negotiations.
The Libyan government said Qaddafi’s youngest son, the relatively unknown Saif al-Arab Qaddafi, was killed in an airstrike on a Tripoli house Saturday evening. (A similarly-named son, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, who has played a sometimes prominent role addressing foreign media, was not reported hurt.) It said the three grandchildren killed were pre-teens.
Reuters reports that Libyan officials took journalists to the house, which appeared to have been hit by at least three missiles that had caved in the roof in places and left mangled steel rods and chunks of concrete. The home was in a wealthy residential area and Reuters reports that what appeared to be an unexploded missile lay among the debris.
At a press conference Sunday morning, a Qaddafi government spokesman said that Qaddafi and his wife had been at the house but were not harmed. “This was a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country,” said the spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, reports The New York Times. “This is not permitted by international law. It is not permitted by any moral code or principle.”
The NATO mission’s commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, said in a statement that the airstrike had not targeted the Libyan leader and called the four deaths unconfirmed.
“All NATO’s targets are military in nature and have been clearly linked to the Qaddafi regime’s systematic attacks on the Libyan population and populated areas. We do not target individuals,” he said. A NATO source told The New York Times that NATO officials were not aware that Qaddafi or his family members were in the house when they ordered the airstrike.