March 31, 2011 / 9:52 AM / 9 years ago

Airstrikes killed 40 civilians in Tripoli-Vatican official

ROME, March 31 (Reuters) - At least 40 civilians have been killed in airstrikes by Western forces on Tripoli, the top Vatican official in the Libyan capital told a Catholic news agency on Thursday citing witnesses.

“The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighbourhoods of Tripoli,” said Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.

“I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighbourhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people,” he told Fides, the news agency of the Vatican missionary arm.

Libyan officials have taken foreign reporters to the sites of what they say were the aftermath of western air strikes on Tripoli but evidence of civilian casualties have been inconclusive.

Western powers say they have no confirmed evidence of civilian casualties. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; editing by Jon Boyle)

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