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NATO strikes boat carrying Gadhafi troops

Aug 19, 2011 6:10:00 AM - thestate.com
A NATO spokesman says coalition warplanes have targeted a small boat carrying Moammar Gadhafi's troops off the coast of Zawiya as rebels advanced in the strategic city along the Mediterranean.

The spokesman says the boat was struck Wednesday because the government troops were "threatening civilians." Libyan rebels claimed on Thursday to have gained control of the country's last functioning oil refinery in Zawiya.

The NATO official spoke on condition of anonymity because he could not be identified under standing rules.

He said on Friday that after the boat was hit, NATO aircraft detected several people swimming toward a nearby buoy. NATO raised the alarm and initiated a rescue of the individuals.

NATO also says its planes took out five tanks in Zawiya on Thursday.

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