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Libyan bishop claims ‘dozens’ of civilians killed in air strikes

By on Thursday, 31 March 2011

Rebel fighters cover the body of a Libyan killed in a coalition air strike (CNS photo/Youssef Boudlal, Reuters)

Rebel fighters cover the body of a Libyan killed in a coalition air strike (CNS photo/Youssef Boudlal, Reuters)

At least 40 Libyan civilians have been killed as a consequence of airstrikes carried out by the United States and other western powers, the leading Church official in Libya said.

Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, told the Vatican’s missionary news agency Fides: “The so-called humanitarian raids have caused dozens of victims among civilians in some areas of Tripoli.

“I gathered testimony from trustworthy people. In particular, in the neighbourhood of Buslim, the bombardments caused the collapse of a civilian residence building, resulting in the deaths of 40 people,” Bishop Martinelli said.

The bishop said that while the bombing raids aim at precise targets, they have an impact on nearby buildings. Two hospitals have been damaged, he said, including one in Mizda, a city about 90 miles from Tripoli. News reports said 13 people were injured when a hospital at Mizda was damaged in an air raid on a nearby arms depot.

Bishop Martinelli, who has called for mediation by the African Union in the conflict, has been critical of the military intervention by the United States, France and Britain in support of rebels seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“For all one knows, the military action may be causing victims among the very civilians that they say are being protected by these military operations,” the bishop.

He said the situation in Tripoli was getting worse every day, with severe petrol shortages.

“On a military level, there seems to be an impasse, because the rebels do not seem to have enough strength to advance. For this reason I am saying that a diplomatic solution is the best way to end the bloodshed between Libyans, offering Gaddafi a dignified way out,” he said.

On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI appealed for a suspension of fighting in Libya and the immediate start of a serious dialogue aimed at restoring peace to the North African country. He said he especially feared the consequences of the fighting on the civilian population.

  • terrence netto

    First it was Iraq then Karbul now in Libya – not with civilaina then their own forces. These trigger-happy westerns.

  • terrence netto

    Our early Crusaders fought manly not with covert operation and Obama forgot his birthplace(Kotakinte)

  • Anonymous

    Sirte. 12 natop rockets in rapid succession are responsible for 1000 deaths on the last day of Ramadan.The victims were mainly old men and women plus women and children. the nato are hammering the citizens and now the situation is worse. there are no journalists in Sirte and the people are dying buried in rubble from collapsed buildings caused by nato bombs! My information is that Libya’s people are being massacred but there is no surrender. They slaughter my people like sheep, like sheep to the slaughter, captured people are tied and then have throats slit. Nato has mercenaries from Italy in Tripoli and from quatar on the ground whilst Britains cruise missiles are fired from ships in the sea, the med. Edinburgh International and Blackwater have B2s and B52s bombing the people of Libya. £0,000 bombs dropped on the people of Libya do not constitute a peacekeeping force. God please send someone to stop this massacre of the Libyans who cannot even surrender if they wanted to but also whi will all die resisting an invading force with an unpopular faux puppet head in Benghazi!

  • Parasum

    Of course war solves problems. WW2 saw an end to Hitler, and Mussolini, and Hitler’s puppets. Not going into the war in Lybia would have done nothing but let Gaddafi kill, imprison and torture even more than he had already. As for civilian deaths – would they have been happier & more fulfilled being tortured or shot or strung up by those lovely humane thugs in Gaddafi’s employ ? Besides, people die in wars – astonishing maybe, but true. In the real world, that is, the one not inhabited by idiot churchmen.