Libyan civilians killed in air strikes as ceasefire offer rejected

A doctor in eastern Libya has confirmed for the BBC that an airstrike on a pro-Gaddafi convoy in eastern Libya left 7 civilians dead and 25 injured.

Dr Suleiman Refardi said the raid, which occurred Wednesday in the village of Zawia el Argobe, turned deadly when a truck carrying ammunition exploded, sending out shrapnel and destroying two nearby homes.

The youngest of those killed was 12 years old, while the oldest was 20, according to Refardi.

NATO, which recently took over command of the Libyan no fly zone mission from the United States, has indicated it is investigating the incident.

New information on Saturday suggested the air strike may have been carried out by a jet operation under the authority of the rebel forces.

Doctor Refardi said he’d spoken to the family members of those killed and claimed they held no anger toward coalition forces. The convoy was reportedly made up of tanks and artillery and residents feared a massacre before the air strike neutralised the threat.

“They [the Libyan people] are expecting more than this, because they know the Gaddafi forces are using civilians as a shield,” said Refardi.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the rebel Transitional National Council and former Justice Minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, offered the Libyan government a ceasefire if Gaddafi resigns and if all troops are withdrawn from Libyan cities.

The offer was swiftly rejected.

“We will not leave our cities,” said government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim. “We are the government, not them.”

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