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Libya blames UK for oil field raid

Officials are investigating claims that British war planes bombed a major Libyan oil field, killing three civilian guards and injuring a number of other workers.

The Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim accused UK forces of targeting the the Al-Sarir oil field in the south east region of the war-torn country during a news conference with reporters on Wednesday.

Despite offering no proof, he claimed the strike had also damaged a a pipeline connecting to Libya's Hariga port, according to Reuters news agency.

The government official said: "British warplanes have attacked, have carried out an air strike against the Sarir oilfield which killed three oilfield guards and other employees at the field were also injured.

"There is no doubt this aggression ... is against international law and is not covered by the U.N. resolution," he said

The Ministry of Defence said it was investigating the reports but would make no official comment about the alleged attack.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi sent a personal letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to end an "unjust war". The American government rebuffed the appeal, stating the dictator must resign and leave Libya.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "I don't think there is any mystery about what is expected from Mr Gaddafi at this time. There needs to be a ceasefire, his forces need to withdraw from the cities that they have forcibly taken at great violence and human cost. There needs to be a decision made about his departure from power and... his departure from Libya."

On Wednesday the British government announced that four RAF Typhoon fighters would be diverted to ground attack operations in Libya, amid complaints from the rebel leaders that Nato was not doing enough to protect them.

The Typhoons had been policing the no-fly zone while the RAF's Tornado GR4s carried out attacks on Gaddafi's ground forces. There are now 20 RAF fighter aircraft committed to the operation.

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