NATO airstrikes in the Libyan town of Sirte struck a residential building and a home and killed 354 people, according to a spokesman for ousted leader Muammar Gadhafi.
Pro-Gadhafi loyalists have been battling invading rebel forces on the streets of Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown. As the rebels attempt to solidify their rule in remaining loyalist areas, NATO warplanes continue to provide reconnaissance and bombing assistance.
“NATO attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the city’s main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential flats,” Gaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told Reuters. “The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night,” he added.
The statements have been difficult to verify since communications in pro-Gadhafi areas have been down for weeks, not to mention a lack of electricity, water, and food for the residents.
NATO spokesman Colonel Roland Levoie said, “We are aware of these allegations. It is not the first time such allegations have been made. Most often, they are revealed to be unfounded or inconclusive.” Although that hasn’t been the case with various reports of previous NATO strikes killing civilians.
Ibrahim said that about 2,000 civilians had been killed by NATO strikes so far in Sirte. Even if his estimates are high, that is a practice both sides are guilty of.