Tripoli, Libya Libyan authorities accused NATO of killing 15 people in an airstrike Saturday that they said hit a restaurant and bakery in the east, though the alliance denied the report.
It was the latest outcry from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s government blaming NATO for killing civilians amid a four-month uprising that has sparked a civil war. NATO insists it does all it can to avoid such casualties.
Meanwhile, rebel representatives said their fighters were coordinating around the country for the “zero hour” when their forces would reach the capital of Tripoli.
The rebels said they have been working to cut fuel supplies from the Tunisian border in an attempt to paralyze Gadhafi’s forces. Rebels also are making homemade bombs and trying to ferry other weapons to their comrades in Tripoli, a spokesman for an underground guerrilla group there said.
Libya’s state news agency quoted a military official in Gadhafi’s forces as saying that NATO warplanes hit a number of civilian sites Saturday in the oil town of Brega, including a restaurant and a bakery.
The official said 15 civilians were killed and 20 wounded in the strike. The JANA news agency also claimed five civilians were killed Friday in Brega as well.
NATO said it did not carry out any strikes in the area on Saturday.
A NATO official said alliance warplanes did hit several targets in the vicinity of Brega on Friday but that there was no evidence civilians had been killed or wounded.
“We have no indications of any civilian casualties in connection with these strikes,” said the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media on the record. “What we know is that the buildings we hit were occupied and used by pro-Gadhafi forces to direct attacks against civilians around Ajdabiya.”