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NATO doubts Libyan claim that airstrike killed Gadhafi's son

May 1, 2011 6:02:00 PM - thestate.com
NATO has found no evidence to support claims by the Libyan government that an airstrike in Tripoli killed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's youngest son and three grandchildren, two military officials said Sunday.

What the Libyan government called a residence - where Gadhafi's son, Saif al Arab, and three grandchildren lived when the structure was struck Saturday night - was, in fact, a command and control center with a bunker underneath, the NATO and U.S. officials said on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about NATO's findings.

The officials also rejected suggestions that the attack targeted Gadhafi. Regime officials said that Gadhafi and his wife were at the Tripoli home of their son, when the airstrike took place; both escaped unharmed.

"We have seen no evidence of civilian casualties," the NATO official said. "We do not target individuals and have no real way of knowing who is inside."

The officials said they couldn't say the regime was lying, simply that they couldn't confirm the claims. Privately, however, officials at the Pentagon suggested that the regime claimed that civilians and children died by a NATO strike to divide an already conflicted international community over its effort here. In Benghazi, the rebel capital, residents were dubious, noting that Gadhafi has said family members have died at the world community's hands before.

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