Libya accuses NATO of killing civilians in Tripoli airstrike. Are the charges true this time?
NATO says it is investigating the charges, which come hours after NATO acknowledged mistakenly bombing rebel vehicles.
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Libyan officials accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of launching an airstrike on a civilian building in the capital, Tripoli, early Sunday, saying the strike killed at least five civilians.
NATO says it is investigating the charges, which were impossible for foreign reporters to verify.
The accusation comes hours after NATO acknowledged mistakenly bombing rebel vehicles near the front lines of their fight with forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. The incidents put pressure on NATO at a time when President Obama is struggling with Congress on US involvement in the mission.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Libyan officials bused foreign reporters in Tripoli to an obliterated apartment building on a residential street in the populous Souq Jouma district.
The Times reports that an angry crowd was gathered outside the building, and some witnesses said they heard aircraft before the building exploded around 1:15 a.m. Neighbors told the Times that there were no military buildings nearby, and that those reported killed were members of an extended family with the surname Gharari. The Times correspondent reported that the body of a woman was removed from the rubble, and authorities showed reporters five bodies, which they said were all casualties from the blast, at a Tripoli hospital.
Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim, visiting the site while reporters were there, blamed the bombing on NATO, reported the Associated Press. “There was intentional and deliberate targeting of the civilian houses,” he said. “This is another sign of the brutality of the West."
NATO looking into the incident
The AP reports that a NATO spokesman said the organization is aware of the allegations and is investigating.