Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Libyan rebels angered at Nato ‘friendly fire’ deaths

By Kim Sengupta and Patrick Cockburn

Published 08/04/2011

A Nato jet is prepared for air strikes against government targets in Libya (AP)
A Nato jet is prepared for air strikes against government targets in Libya (AP)

The difficult relationship between Nato forces and the Libyan rebels came under further strain yesterday after Western aircraft killed 13 fighters and injured many more in a mistaken attack on rebel tanks.

The incident, the third in recent days in which Nato have hit the wrong side, caused widespread anger in Ajdabiya among rebels, many of whom also believe that the western air strikes should have begun sooner and gone further.

And it led to further recriminations between the Benghazi rebel leadership and the coalition authorities.

The hospital in Ajdabiya has accepted a stream of the dead and the maimed from this savage civil war, civilian and military, most of them victims of regime forces.

But the bodies which arrived yesterday were the result of “friendly fire”.

They were revolutionaries who had been hit in the airstrikes, 30km from Brega, on the main road which has become a battleground in the east.

In another area, Yasin Ibadullah had just seen what remained of another victim, his friend, and he was in no mood to hear about the problems pilots may have in finding targets in a fluctuating frontline.

“They have all the equipment, all the technology, we haven't got them,” he shouted. “Why did they do this? Do they want Gaddafi to win?”

Last Saturday 13 Shabaab fighters were killed 10 miles along the same road after Nato jets, believed to be A-10 Warthog tankbusters, responded to “celebratory firing” from an anti-aircraft gun with missile launches.

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