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NATO strikes Gaddafi forces

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

09 Apr. 2011

NAPLES, 9 April – NATO forces have remained actively engaged in Libya over the past 24 hours with airstrikes across the country that have destroyed key logistic facilities and several armoured vehicles of the Libyan Government.

NATO aircraft struck ammunition stockpiles of the Libyan Government east of Tripoli that were being used to resupply forces involved in shelling innocent civilians in Misrata and other population centers. “In addition to hitting their supplies, our aircraft successfully destroyed a significant percentage of the Libyan Government’s armoured forces,” said Lieutenant-General Charlie Bouchard, the Commander of Operation Unified Protector. “Some of these armoured forces also were involved in the indiscriminate shelling of Misrata. By eliminating these heavy weapons, we are reducing the Gaddafi Regime’s ability to attack the local population.”

NATO’s and its Partners’ mission is to prevent and protect the civilians of Libya. Troops that are intent on attacking civilians and civilian population centres will be targeted. “We struck armoured vehicles that continue to fire on civilians in the vicinity of Misrata and Ajdabiya in the East,” added the Commander. “In one particular strike near Misrata, our pilots observed Regime forces loading armoured vehicles onto equipment transporters to be taken forward into population centres. NATO pilots, observing many troops around the transporter, first engaged a tank concealed along a nearby hedge line. This strike destroyed the tank and forced the nearby troops to flee, allowing the second strike to destroy other vehicles with minimal loss of life. We will not always be able to limit loss of life but Regime forces should understand that if they continue to operate these vehicles and follow orders to attack their own people they will be targeted.

NATO continues to observe the use of civilians as human shields by Gaddafi forces. “We have observed horrific examples of Regime forces deliberately placing their weapons systems close to civilians, their homes and even their places of worship,” said Lieutenant-General Bouchard. “Troops have also been observed hiding behind women and children. This type of behaviour violates the principles of international law and will not be tolerated.”

NATO will continue to strike any forces that place in jeopardy the lives of the Libyan people, as mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 1973.



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