By Nick Carey and Saif Al-Jubouri
TRIPOLI, June 19 Libyan officials said some
seven civilians were killed in a NATO air strike in eastern
Tripoli in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Reporters were taken by Libyan government officials to a
residential area in the Arada neighbourhood of Tripoli and saw a
body pulled out of the rubble of a destroyed building.
"There was intentional and deliberate targeting of the
civilian houses," deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told
reporters at the site. "This is another sign of the brutality of
There were heaps of rubble and chunks of shattered concrete
at the scene, which a large crowd of what appeared to be local
residents were helping to clear.
At a local hospital, reporters were shown three bodies,
including a child, which government officials said were people
killed in the air strike.
One of the bodies was covered with debris and dust.
Reporters were also shown a wounded child.
"Basically, this is another night of murder, terror and
horror in Tripoli caused by NATO," government spokesman Moussa
Ibrahim told reporters at the hospital. Five families were
living in the building which was hit, he said.
It could not be immediately verified whether the three
bodies had come from the destroyed building in the Arada
district. Arada is a neighbourhood in the Souq al-Juma district,
which is known for anti-Gaddafi sentiment.
If confirmed, the incident would be a blow to NATO's
campaign which is aiding rebels fighting the government of
Muammar Gaddafi at a time when the Western alliance is debating
how to sustain its mission.
Reporters reached the site about an hour-and-a-half after
hearing the explosion. On previous occasions when reporters have
been taken to see fresh air strikes, the ruins of shattered
buildings were still smoking after being hit. There did not
appear to be any smoke at the site.
Two weeks ago, Libyan government officials were accused by a
staff member at the same hospital in a note passed to
journalists of falsely labelling a child hurt in a car crash as
the victim of a NATO attack.
The incident on Sunday occurred just over 24 hours after the
Libyan government accused NATO of specifically targeting
After four months of civil war, rebels control much of the
east of Libya, the area around the western port city of Misrata
and much of the Western Mountain region stretching to the border
(Editing by Jon Hemming)