TRIPOLI (Reuters) – NATO missiles hit a site in Libya used by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces to stockpile military supplies and vehicles, the alliance said yesterday, adding it was unaware of 15 civilian deaths reported by state media.
A top rebel official, citing the existence of talks with Gaddafi allies through intermediaries, said they would be ready to discuss any political settlement that did not involve Gaddafi remaining in power, but said no proposals had emerged as yet.
The attack late on Friday was the second within hours on what NATO said were clearly identified military targets in the coastal city of Brega, around 200 km (130 miles) west of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
Libyan state television said a local bakery and a restaurant had been hit, wounding 20 people in addition to the 15 dead. State news agency Jana said a strike in the same area earlier on Friday had killed five civilians.
“We have no indications of any civilian casualties in connection to these strikes,” a NATO official said.
“What we know is that the buildings we hit were occupied and used by pro-Gaddafi forces to direct attacks against civilians around Ajdabiya,” the official said. Ajdabiya is rebel-held.
“Unlike the pro-Gaddafi forces, we go to great lengths to reduce the possibility of any civilian casualties,” the official added.
Separately, a Reuters correspondent in the capital Tripoli heard four explosions as jets flew overhead on two occasions yesterday. The blasts appeared to come from the eastern suburb of Tajura.