CAIRO (Reuters) - A NATO air strike killed at least 16 civilians and wounded up to 40 at a guest house in the eastern Libyan city of Brega on Friday, state television reported.
It said the attack occurred at dawn and most of the victims were clerics who had gathered for a religious ceremony.
“They were a group of Muslim sheikhs (religious leaders) were holding a religious ceremony in the area of a Brega,” a witness said in the report, broadcast on the Jamahiriya and Al-Libya channels.
“This is a civilian house,” he said, pointing to a destroyed building. “Look at what the Crusaders have done, what NATO had done.”
Asked about the report at a briefing at mission headquarters in Naples, NATO spokesman Squadron Leader Mike Bracken told reporters: “I can honestly say I do not know any information about an attack or an incident in Brega.”
He said NATO used “sophisticated means” to avoid civilian casualties in air strikes.
Television footage showed at least nine bodies with multiple wounds wrapped in blankets at an unidentified location. It was not immediately possible to confirm the report independently.
Writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Andrew Dobbie