Fighting in Northwest Libya, NATO Pounds Tripoli

Posted June 18th, 2011 at 2:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Clashes have erupted between forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and rebels in the northwestern city of Nalut.

Rebel fighters said Saturday that at least eight people have been killed in the unrest.

Meanwhile, NATO has called Libyan government claims that alliance airstrikes are targeting civilians “outrageous.” At a Saturday news conference from Brussels, spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said it is Mr. Gadhafi and his forces who have been “systematically and brutally attacking” Libyan people.

On Friday, Mr. Gadhafi delivered a fiery audio message in which he vowed to defeat NATO forces. His message came as NATO warplanes pounded targets in the capital, Tripoli.

Libyan state television says more allied airstrikes took place on Saturday in a neighborhood in the capital.

Diplomatic efforts to help resolve Libya's crisis continue.

Leaders of groups that include the European Union, African Union and United Nations gathered at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Saturday. They discussed policies that could help end Libya's conflict, protect civilians and provide humanitarian assistance.

In a separate development, Austria on Saturday became the latest foreign power to announce that it will recognize the opposition Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The group has already received recognition from countries that include Italy, France, and Qatar.