NATO Bombs Libyan Satellite Dishes

Posted July 30th, 2011 at 2:35 am (UTC-5)
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NATO says it has bombed three Libyan satellite dishes in the capital, Tripoli, in an effort to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from using television to intimidate civilians.

The alliance said Saturday that NATO fighter aircraft conducted a precision airstrike that disabled the three ground-based satellite dishes.

An alliance spokesman said the strike was “necessary,” because he said Mr. Gadhafi used television broadcasts to “oppress and threaten” the Libyan people and incite attacks against them.

The Reuters news agency reported Libyan state television was still on the air following the strike.

NATO has been conducting air raids in Libya since March under a United Nations mandate to protect Libyan civilians from Mr. Gadhafi's forces. The Libyan leader has been trying to crush a rebellion against his 41-year rule.

The NATO spokesman Saturday said the strike on the satellites was carried out after “careful planning” to minimize the risk of casualties or long-term damage to television transmission capabilities. He said hitting these dishes specifically will reduce the Gadhafi government's ability to oppress civilians, while preserving television broadcast infrastructure that will be needed after the conflict.

News reports said several explosions rocked Tripoli Friday night.

Earlier Friday, thousands of Libyans turned out in rebel-held Benghazi for the funeral of the opposition's military chief, who was shot dead in the city Thursday under mysterious circumstances.

Abdel Fattah Younes had been part of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle before joining the rebels earlier this year.

The opposition National Transitional Council says it is investigating the killing. It has said only that Younes was gunned down on his way to Benghazi, where he had been summoned to discuss “a military matter.”

Earlier, rebels said they had detained Younes on suspicion his family may still have ties to Mr. Gadhafi's government.