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NATO Airstrike Kills At Least 2 Libyan Rebels

VOA News April 07, 2011

At least two Libyan rebels were killed on Thursday when a NATO airstrike hit one of their tank positions near the eastern town of Brega, leaving dozens wounded.

The airstrike left the opponents of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi reeling as they have been asking for NATO planes to protect them in their fight against troops loyal to Mr. Gadhafi.

It remains unclear whether rebels were targeted or if the strike was a mistake. NATO is investigating the incident.

Western media reported a chaotic scene at a hospital in Ajdabiyah where victims were taken.

Rebels have been battling forces loyal to Mr. Gadhafi to retake control of the oil town of Brega, which has gone from rebel to government control and back again several times during the conflict.

Rebel leaders have recently criticized NATO for failing to protect civilians and for not striking pro-Gadhafi military forces quickly or forcefully enough.

Meantime, officials say an international contact group including the United States, European and Middle East allies will meet in Qatar next week to discuss the military intervention in Libya.

The French news agency, AFP, reports France is also trying to convince the African Union to send representatives to the meeting on April 13.

The United Nations is working on tightening sanctions on Libya including adding members of Mr. Gadhafi's family and ministers close to him on a travel ban list.

Colonel Gadhafi appealed directly to U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday to stop the NATO air campaign. In a rambling three-page letter, the Libyan leader urged Mr. Obama to stop what he called an "unjust war against a small people."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the appeal and reiterated U.S. and NATO demands that there be a cease-fire, that loyalist forces withdraw from cities and that Mr. Gadhafi give up power.

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