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Nato - legitimate Libya military targets

15 May 2012, 08:27

Brussels - Nato struck only "legitimate military targets" during its 2011 operation in Libya, the military alliance said on Monday, responding to a Human Rights Watch report alleging "unlawful attacks" that led to dozens of civilian deaths.

Nato acknowledged that its air campaign resulted in civilian casualties, but strenuously denied striking sites not related to Libyan military forces.

"We have reviewed all the information we hold as an organisation and confirmed that the specific targets struck by Natowere legitimate military targets," a Nato statement read.

"Nato did everything possible to minimise risks to civilians, but in a complex military campaign, that risk can never be zero. We deeply regret any instance of civilian casualties for which Nato may have been responsible," it said.

Human Rights Watch's 76-page report, released on Monday, charged Nato with killing 72 civilians, including 20 woman and 24 children, in eight bombing sites it examined.

The organisation said that their field investigations found an "absence of a clear military target" at seven of the eight sites it visited, raising "possible laws-of-war violations that should be investigated".

"Attacks are allowed only on military targets, and serious questions remain in some incidents about what exactly Nato forces were striking," the report's author, Fred Abrahams, said.



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