NATO condemns Scud attack by Gaddafi forces

The empty streets of Brega, August 15, 2011

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

Carmen Romero (NATO Deputy Spokesperson): On Sunday Qadhafi forces launched for the first time an unguided short-range ballistic missile to attack the Brega area. This missile potentially could have killed many civilians. We strongly condemned the use of this kind of indiscriminate weapon in the way that puts civilians at risk.

It shows that Qadhafi and his regime are desperate, and they continue to represent a serious threat to innocent people in Libya. . . .

Colonel Roland Lavoie (Spokesperson for the Operation Unified Protector): On August the 14th NATO intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets detected the launch of an unguided, short-range surface-to-surface missile from the vicinity of Sirte. Its point of impact was roughly five kilometres east of Brega, which is an area currently under control of anti-Qadhafi forces.

The use of such missiles presents a direct threat to innocent people. Although the surface-to-surface missiles in Qadhafi’s arsenal are highly inaccurate, and are not designed to hit a specific target, they are a weapon of terror. Their use against an urban or industrial area is utterly irresponsible. . . .

Q: Yes, I have a follow-up question regarding the Scud missile that was fired. I understand that NATO was targeting Qadhafi’s stockpiles of such missiles early on the campaign. Does NATO have any sort of idea, estimates how many might be left or whether there’s a viable stockpile still left?

Colonel Roland Lavoie: Many… thank you for asking the questions. Essentially, and this is similar to the question I provided prior in French, so thank you, that will allow everybody to understand. In short, what I said is that these Scud-type missiles, the one that was fired last weekend, is a type of armament that does not represent a new threat. It was there present since the beginning of the conflict.

I could also assure you that since the beginning of our presence we have engaged repeatedly several pieces of heavy armament, including Scud launchers and launchers of missiles, including very recently just a few days ago.

Our assessment, without going into details, is that the Qadhafi regime does not have any more an effective operational capability. It could certainly, as I mentioned in French, throw the dishes against the wall to make a bit of noise, but we do not believe that they could generate a significant operational effect with that type of weaponry, that it is basically running short of.  (photo: AP)

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