NATO looking into reports of air strikes causing civilian deaths listen03/31/11 wire reports including AP
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:
The new NATO commander of the international military operation in Libya says he's looking into reports that air strikes on Tripoli have killed at least 40 civilians. Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, a Canadian now heading the international operation, noted the alleged incident happened before NATO took command early Thursday.
"I am aware of this report. It is a news report and I appreciate the source of the news report. I take every one of those issues seriously, in fact, however our command the NATO mission started at 0600 this morning. My mandate is clear. We will help protect and defend people, civilians, and population centers against attack from Libyan forces. I'm pleased to report that the handover, the transition with coalition forces has been seamless with no gaps in the effort. NATO aviators and controllers will do everything they can to deny any use of air power against civilians. They will do so with care and precision and to avoid harming the people of Libya."
The report by the Fides news agency quotes a bishop in Tripoli, as saying he'd learned that a building in the Buslim district collapsed because of bombing, killing 40 people.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says there will be no American ground troops in Libya as long as he's in his job. Gates made the comment under congressional questioning about the U.S. mission in Libya.
Some lawmakers complained that Congress hasn't been consulted on the Libya operation, and the goals are unclear. Today the New York Times reported, that despite Gatesâ€™ claim that there would be no U.S. ground troops in Libya, the Central Intelligence Agency has had clandestine operatives in Libya for several weeks.