NATO Strike Kills 12 Libyan Rebels in Misurata

NATO warplanes attacked a rebel position on the front lines here on Wednesday, killing 12 fighters in what rebel fighters called another friendly fire accident.

The rebels, who did not want to be identified for security reasons, were at first reluctant to admit the accident had occurred, not wanting to discourage further strikes against the forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The pace of NATO strikes had picked up noticeably in recent days, after rebel leaders complained of a lack of support in the weeks after the United States turned over operational control of the air campaign to NATO.

The airstrike hit a salt factory in the Qasr Ahmed neighborhood at 4:30 p.m. local time. The rebels had been using it as a forward position since at least yesterday, they said, and had notified NATO of their presence there. NATO could not be immediately reached for comment.

[Source: By C. J. Chivers, The New York Times, Misurata, 27Apr11]

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