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NATO to continue Libya attacks during Ramadan: official

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Aug 2, IRNA -- NATO vowed to continue its air assault on Libya over the holy Muslim month of Ramadan unless Libyan dictator Mommar Qadhafi agreed to a 'verifiable and credible' ceasefire, a spokesman for the western military alliance said Tuesday.

Talking to Brussels-based media representatives via a video link from NATO's military headquarters in Naples, Italy, Roland Lavoie said, 'As long as there are attacks, threats of attacks and incitement of violence against civilians, NATO will act to protect them.'

'A (NATO) ceasefire would require a total cessation of violence from the Qadhafi regime (that) must be verifiable and credible.

A true ceasefire must not be a pause during which the Gaddafi regime can rearm, resupply, regroup or reposition its forces to resume attacks against civilians after Ramadan,' he added.

NATO has flown almost 17,500 sorties over Libya since March 31 to enforce a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.

On Monday alone - the first day of Ramadan - NATO flew 114 sorties in Libya.

NATO has faced strong international criticism, notably by Russia, for actively providing military support to the Benghazi-based opposition.

Moscow has repeatedly blasted western political and military backing for Libyan rebels, saying the UN resolution did not authorize such a mission.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30504615

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