Friday, 5 August 2011

NATO Libya strike in Zliten kills Gaddafi son and 30 others (Libya rebels say)

BENGHAZI: Libya's rebel forces on Friday said an overnight night NATO strike on an operations centre in the western town of Zliten has killed Muammar Gaddafi's son Khamis, and more than 30 others.

Citing spies operating among Gaddafi's ranks, Mohammed Zawawi, a spokesman for revolutionary militia groups, told AFP that Khamis was confirmed to be among the dead.

"Overnight there was a aircraft attack by NATO on the Gaddafi operations room in Zliten and there are around 32 Gaddafi troops killed. One of them is Khamis," said Zawawi, a spokesman for the United Revolutionary Forces.

Khamis, who has long led pro-government militia fighters, was said to be commanding the battle for Zliten -- a Gaddafi bastion that has halted the rebel advance on Tripoli.

The strike appears to have come just hours after Tripoli took journalists on an escorted tour of the centre of Zliten, an effort to rubbish rebel claims the town was under attack.

Fighters from the rebel enclave of Misrata, 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the east, announced this week they had made progress in Zliten, a strategic coastal town on the road to Tripoli.

But authorities in Tripoli quickly denied that claim, saying they controlled the entire town.

On Thursday an AFP journalist saw the town centre was in the hands of regime forces, although intensive artillery fire was heard in the distance.

Residents said the frontline is located at a distance of 10 to 15 kilometres (six to nine miles) east of the city centre while rebel official said they control three neighbourhoods in the town's east.

NATO plans campaign in Syria and tightens noose around Iran

NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.
The UN Security Council condemned on Wednesday ongoing violence in Syria and urged the country's authorities to stop using force against peaceful protesters, while saying the current situation in the country has not yet called for NATO interference.
"[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa," Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday.
The Russian diplomat pointed out at the fact that the alliance is aiming to interfere only with the regimes "whose views do not coincide with those of the West."
Rogozin agreed with the opinion expressed by some experts that Syria and later Yemen could be NATO's last steps on the way to launch an attack on Iran.
"The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region," Rogozin said.
Having learned the Libyan lesson, Russia "will continue to oppose a forcible resolution of the situation in Syria," he said, adding that the consequences of a large-scale conflict in North Africa would be devastating for the whole world.