NATO to investigate bishop's claim of Tripoli civilian casualties
NATO on Thursday launched an investigation into claims by a Catholic bishop in Tripoli that dozens of civilians were killed in airstrikes on the Libyan capital, reported dpa.
Canadian Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, who is leading NATO operations in the North African country, said the investigation aimed "to ascertain whether or not NATO forces were involved," in the Tripoli bombing.
Bouchard was speaking at a news conference in Naples from where NATO is coordination the military operation in Libya.
Earlier, Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, told the Catholic FIDES news agency he had heard about the alleged deaths in "various eyewitness accounts from trustworthy people."
"Of particular concern, in the (Tripoli) district of Buslim, a building collapsed because of the bombing, killing 40 people," Martinelli was quoted as saying by FIDES.
"If it is true that the bombings appear to be very targeted, it is also true that they are hitting military targets, which are in the midst of civilian neighbourhoods, thus the local people are also affected," Martinelli said.
Airstrikes over Libya began on March 19 by an international coalition coordinated by the United States, with France and Britain playing a leading role.
The coalition said it was intervening to stop the massacre of innocent civilians by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi.