NATO Bombs Tripoli Neighbourhood Killing 5 Civilians

Nato says it is investigating claims by Libya that five civilians, two of them young children, were killed in an air raid over the capital, Tripoli, on Sunday.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim has accused the Western alliance of “deliberately targeting civilians,” insisting there were no military targets anywhere near the residential neighbourhood of the capital that was attacked.

If confirmed, the civilian deaths would be an embarrassment for Ahich has been leading the bombing campaign under a UN mandate to protect civilians. Ibrahim said he feared the death toll would rise as the building that was hit was home to at least 15 people.

Another NATO source in Brussels confirmed that the alliance conducted raids over Tripoli in the last 24 hours. NATO’s latest official operational update on the Libya campaign said that aircraft hit a surface-to-air missile storage facility in Tripoli on Saturday.

It said the targets in the vicinity of Tripoli of the capital included one command and control facility, two military vehicle storage facilities, one rocket launcher, four artillery pieces and two surface-to-air missile launchers.

US President Barack Obama is facing mounting pressure from lawmakers who have accused him of steamrolling Congress by joining the NATO air attacks in Libya and are threatening to cut off funding for US operations there.

The dispute centres on the separation of powers, a bedrock principle of US democracy, and has grown more heated following a report that Obama overruled top Defense and Justice Department lawyers in choosing to bypass Congress.