NATO challenges Libyan TV report of civilian deaths

NATO Deputy Spokesperson Carmen Romero

From NATOExcerpt from press briefing on Libya by Carmen Romero, the NATO Deputy Spokesperson and Colonel Roland Lavoie, Operation ‘’Unified Protector’’ military spokesperson

Q: Hello, Terri Shultz, with MPR and Global Post, when you said that you weren’t aware of any civilian casualties in the attacks on Zlitan, are you saying that you’re not aware that there were any…? You’ve probably seen reports saying that there were 85 people killed, and showing pictures on Libyan TV of children, men and women having been killed. So you’re just saying you’re not aware that there were any… or you are not aware that the claims of the numbers, and the fact that there were children killed, are true? Thanks.

Col. ROLAND LAVOIE: First, I would say like this was a military facility, clearly with two huge agricultural buildings that were occupied by Qadhafi forces and with military tents and temporary accommodation beside it. So, basically, we had very clear intelligence demonstrating that this was clearly a military target. So there’s no expectations of any civilian casualties. I am aware, although, that the regime organized a press visit this morning to Zlitan. And I think they toured a hospital where there were several patients and individuals who were either ill or dead. And we do take seriously these allegations, although they are very frequent… and frequently organized in a timely fashion to coincide with these news conferences. I must say that what we say is based on facts. And after every strike we conduct a battle damage assessment. And this allows us to basically see the consequence of our action. At this stage, I have not received this assessment. So I will not speculation on the outcome, although I could tell you that the target was indeed military, based on solid intelligence. And that there’s no evidence so far that has reached us, suggesting that there could be any civilian casualties.  (photo: Kosovo News Network)

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