Malta alerted Libya of 1986 US bombing, insists ex-prime minister

Other News Materials 2 November 2008 17:19 (UTC +04:00)

It was Malta, and not Italy, which tipped off Libya of the US bombing raid in April 1986, former Maltese Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici insisted Sunday, dpa reported.

He told Malta Today newspaper: "An hour before the bombing, we had informed Libyan air traffic controllers that unidentified, unauthorised planes were approaching their region."

The attack killed Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's 15-month old adopted daughter and some 40 civilians, and injured 226 other people.

Mifsud Bonnici made his comments after Libyan foreign minister Abdel Rahman Shalgam was quoted as saying last Thursday that former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi had personally warned him "one or two days" before the US bombing.

Mifsud Bonnici told the newspaper: "I'm extremely surprised, as the Libyans were totallY unprepared for the attack. So they either ignored the Italians' tip-off - or I don't know."

Former US President Ronald Reagan had ordered the air strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi after the disco attacks which killed two American servicemen in Berlin.