A leading human rights organization is calling on NATO to investigate allegations that it killed 85 civilians during airstrikes on forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.
The demand by Amnesty International Wednesday followed government accusations days earlier that NATO killed civilians in the western part of the country to help clear the way for rebels advancing on the Gadhafi-controlled city of Zlitan.
"NATO continues to stress its commitment to protect civilians. To that effect, it should thoroughly investigate this and all other recent incidents in which civilians were reportedly killed in western Libya as a result of airstrikes," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International said in a statement.
Eighty-five civilians, including 33 children, were killed in airstrikes Monday near the village of Majer, Gadhafi's government said.
NATO says its warplanes Monday struck two farms used as a staging point for Gadhafi's forces.
"This is a legitimate target. And by striking it, NATO has reduced pro-Gadhafi forces capabilities to threaten and attack civilians," said Col. Roland Lavoie, a spokesman for the NATO operation.
"We do not have evidence of civilian casualties at this stage, although casualties among military personnel, including mercenaries, are very likely due to the nature of the target."FULL STORY