Saturday, April 9, 2011

NATO Wiped Out "A Significant Percentage" of Gaddafi Armoured Forces: NATO Commander Charles Bouchard

TRIPOLI - - In response to continued assault on Misrata by forces of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, fifteen Libyan tanks have been destroyed by NATO aircraft attacks; while two of the tanks were hit near eastern city of Brega. 

Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, NATO's commander of Libyan operations said the coalition after taking command of air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi on March 31, had wiped out "a significant percentage" of his armoured forces in the past 24 hours as well as ammunition stockpiles east of the capital, Tripoli.

Bouchard also blamed Col. Gaddafi's forces of using civilians as human shields to prevent NATO forces from attacking them, adding to similar charges made by other Western commanders.
"We have observed horrific examples of regime forces deliberately placing their weapons systems close to civilians, their homes and even their places of worship," Lt Gen Bouchard said in a statement.

"Troops have also been observed hiding behind women and children. This type of behaviour violates the principles of international law and will not be tolerated."
Nato has faced accusations by rebels over the last week that it was not doing enough to tip the balance of power in their favour. bit rebel leaders have now said they had been buoyed by the air power usage.

A Nato official also said the alliance had intercepted a MIG 23 aircraft near Benghazi on Saturday, flown by a rebel pilot, and advised him to land.

"We don't know the identity of the pilot but given that he took off from Benghazi, we would presume it was an opposition pilot," he said.

He said it was the first time Nato forces had intercepted a fighter aircraft since they began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, mandated by the United Nations.

According to Libyan authorities they have shot down rebel-flown rotary aircraft.

Two rebel helicopters violating the no-fly zone over Libya were shot down by the Gaddafi regime in the Brega region in the east, Libya's deputy foreign minister Khalid Kahim claimed.

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