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'Nato strike killed 15 civilians'

A Nato air strike on a city near the front line in eastern Libya has killed 15 civilians, Libya's state news agency claims.

Jana quoted a military official in Muammar Gaddafi's forces as saying Nato warplanes hit a number of civilian sites in the oil refinery town of Brega, including a restaurant and a bakery.

The official said 15 civilians were killed and 20 injured in the attack and also claimed five civilians were killed in Brega on Friday.

Colonel Gaddafi's government has repeatedly accused the alliance of targeting Libyan civilians in its air campaign. Nato insists it does all it can to avoid civilian casualties.

Captain Rob Leese from Nato's operational headquarters in Naples said alliance warplanes hit several targets in the vicinity of Brega, but dismissed claims that the attacks had resulted in civilian casualties.

"We have no indications of any civilian casualties in connection with these strikes," he said. "What we know is that the buildings we hit were occupied and used by pro-Gaddafi forces to direct attacks against civilians around Ajdabiya."

Meanwhile, two large explosions could be heard in the capital of Tripoli, though it was not immediately clear what the Nato airstrikes may have hit.

Players and coaches from the Libyan national football team have also announced their support for the fight to end Gaddafi's 42 years in power, according to rebel sources.

The announcement was made in a video posted on a rebel Facebook page under the title "the national team announces its defection".

In it, several of the men said they are visiting rebels in the western Nafusa mountains to show support. The speakers did not identify themselves by name.

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