Air strike hit 11 vehicles in Gaddafi convoy -NATO

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – NATO aircraft struck 11  vehicles in an armoured convoy speeding late Libyan leader  Muammar Gaddafi out of his hometown of Sirte yesterday,  although NATO did not know at the time he was in the convoy, it  said in a statement today.
NATO’s account of the air strike that led to Gaddafi’s  arrest and death suggested the former ruler’s fleeing convoy was  considerably larger, and more vehicles were hit, than previously  reported.
NATO aircraft struck 11 pro-Gaddafi military vehicles that  were part of a larger group of approximately 75 vehicles  manoeuvring near Sirte, the NATO statement said.
“These armed vehicles were leaving Sirte at high speed and  were attempting to force their way around the outskirts of the  city,” the statement said.
“The vehicles were carrying a substantial amount of weapons  and ammunition posing a significant threat to the local civilian  population. The convoy was engaged by a NATO aircraft to reduce  the threat.”
The statement said that initially, only one vehicle was  destroyed, which disrupted the convoy and resulted in many  vehicles dispersing and changing direction.
“After the disruption, a group of approximately 20 vehicles  continued at great speed to proceed in a southerly direction,  due west of Sirte, and continuing to pose a significant threat.
“NATO engaged these vehicles with another air asset. The  post-strike assessment revealed that approximately 10  pro-Gaddafi vehicles were destroyed or damaged.”
Gaddafi was captured alive after the attack but died later  while in the hands of fighters in circumstances that are still  unclear.
The statement said that at the time of the strike, NATO did  not know that Gaddafi was in the convoy, reiterating that it was  not NATO’s policy to target individuals.
“We later learned from open sources and allied intelligence  that Gaddafi was in the convoy and that the strike likely  contributed to his capture,” the statement said.
A Libyan military official said Gaddafi was wounded in a  NATO air strike before his capture. A doctor who examined his  body said Gaddafi was fatally wounded by a bullet in his  intestines following his capture and also had a bullet hole in  his head.
The NATO statement did not give details of which NATO  nations conducted the strikes. But France has said its jets  halted the convoy and a NATO official has said that a U.S.  drone, an unmanned aircraft, carried out strikes yesterday.

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