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Report exposes widening German role in NATO's war in Libya

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Aug 19, IRNA -- Although Germany formally opposes the war in Libya, its soldiers are actively assisting NATO's military operations in the north African country, the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday.

Responding to a parliamentary inquiry made by a senior lawmaker of the opposition Green party, Hans-Christian Stroebele, the German government admitted that 11 German soldiers currently stationed at NATO facilities in Italy are performing duties, including ones 'in the area of so-called target selection' for NATO airstrikes.

According to German defense ministry documents obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the German soldiers have no 'leadership or decision-making positions.'

German media reports have earlier uncovered that German soldiers are more directly involved in NATO air attacks against Libyan forces than was previously known.

It has already been known for weeks that, as part of Germany's NATO obligations, its military officers are involved in controlling the Libyan no-fly zone even though the Berlin government voted against such a UN mandate.

The latest revelations are set to further embarrass the center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel which has refused to join NATO's highly controversial military mission in Libya aimed at overthrowing Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi.

Meanwhile, Stroebele has already threatened to file legal charges against the government before Germany's Federal Constitutional Court over the involvement of German soldiers in the Libyan military conflict.

The Green MP argues that the fact that the NATO staffs in Italy were specifically formed for the Libyan war means that 'a (parliamentary) mandate would have been needed for (the German) soldiers.'

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30526776

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