Hundreds killed in NATO night attack – Gaddafi’s spokesman

Muammar Gaddafi’s spokesman accused NATO of killing more than 350 people in the town of Sirte overnight, as well as thousands of civilians in the last 17 days.

In a telephone call to Reuters on Saturday, Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the deposed Libyan leader, said that 354 people were killed as a result of NATO airstrike on a residential building and a hotel in Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.

“NATO attacked the city of Sirte last night with more than 30 rockets directed at the city’s main hotel and the Tamin building, which consists of more than 90 residential apartments,” Ibrahim said. “The result is more than 354 dead and 89 still missing and almost 700 injured in one night.”

He added that many more have been killed in Sirte in NATO air attacks since the beginning of September.

“In the last 17 days, more than 2,000 residents of the city of Sirte were killed in NATO air strikes,” Ibrahim told the news agency.

NATO spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie said that the alliance is aware of the allegations but did not confirm or deny the information.

“We are aware of these allegations,” he said. “It is not the first time such allegations have been made. Most often, they are revealed to be unfounded or inconclusive.”

The information cannot be independently verified due to a lack of communication to Sirte, Reuters reported.

Heavy fighting is continuing between Gaddafi loyalists and the forces of the National Transitional Council, the interim Libyan governing body.

Gaddafi loyalists launched a fierce counter-attack in the city of Bani Walid and are continuing their resistance in Sirte, the Al Jazeera television network reported.   

Despite the resistance, NTC military spokesman Ahmed Bani has given Gaddafi loyalists an ultimatum: join the ranks of the new authorities, or be considered traitors.

“The soldiers and officers who will not heed this last call will be accused of high treason,” he said, noting that the fall of the two cities is now a “matter of days.”

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