Fighting in Libya’s West Kills 9, Wounds 50

Posted June 19th, 2011 at 3:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Rebels and medical officials in Libya say fighting near the rebel-held western city of Misrata has killed at least nine people and wounded more than 50 others.

The officials said forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi used heavy artillery Sunday to pummel Dafniya, just west of Misrata.

The latest fighting comes as Libyan officials say NATO bombed a residential neighborhood in the capital, killing nine civilians, including children.

NATO says it is investigating the Libyan claim.

Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim accused NATO of “intentional and deliberate targeting of civilian houses.” He said the attack was indicative of “the brutality of the West.”

Government officials took journalists to the Arada district of Tripoli, where rescue operations were under way at a destroyed building.

Authorities also took journalists to a hospital and showed them several bodies, including those of two young children who officials say died in the airstrike.

The incident has not been independently verified.

On Saturday, the coalition called Libyan government claims that alliance airstrikes are targeting civilians “outrageous.” Spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said it is Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his forces who have been “systematically and brutally attacking” the Libyan people.

Also Saturday, NATO acknowledged that its forces mistakenly struck a column of rebel vehicles near the eastern city of Brega earlier last week. It was the third time NATO accidentally struck rebel positions.