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Gaddafi brands NATO "murderers" over civilian deaths

“We will resist and the battle will continue to the beyond, until you’re wiped out,” said a defiant Gaddafi.

A Libyan girl in Misrata looks at anti-Gaddafi caricatures on 21 June 2011.
A Libyan girl in Misrata looks at anti-Gaddafi caricatures on 21 June 2011.
Image: Hassan Ammar/AP/Press Association Images

IN HIS LATEST broadcast, Muammar Gaddafi accused NATO of murdering Libyan civilians in a recent airstrike, just days after the coalition forces admitted that an errant attack killed civilians in Tripoli.

NATO said earlier this week that it “regrets the loss of innocent civilians” and blamed a weapons system failure for the strike going awry. It is still investigating Libyan reports that seven civilians were killed in a NATO strike on the capital last weekend.

Speaking in an audio broadcast on state television last night, Gaddafi echoed earlier statements vowing to fight to the death. Al Jazeera reports that the Libyan leader said his troops would continue to fight and resist pressure from NATO:

We will resist and the battle will continue to the beyond, until you’re wiped out. But we will not be finished.

Misgivings over NATO

The civilian deaths prompted Italy to call for a suspension in NATO’s air campaign against Libya to allow the provision of humanitarian aid. Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini expressed concern over “dramatic errors” by NATO and said it is now “opportune to ask for more detailed information on results.”

The BBC reports that NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted that the campaign is protecting civilians and will continue.

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However, Britain’s David Cameron insisted that the NATO-led alliance remains strong and will continue it military action. Cameron said the growing unpopularity of Gaddafi’s regime was clear and the revolt against him in western Libya is strengthening.

The Independent (UK) reports this morning that the cost of the campaign to Britain is believed to have reached between £200m and £250m.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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