Sunday, April 24, 2011

First US drone strikes Libya

Source: Press TV

The US Department of Defense has confirmed its first Predator missile strike on Libya amid rising controversy over such attacks in other parts of the world.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says President Barack Obama has approved the use of armed Predator drones to improve the precision of strikes in Libya.

However, the US military or CIA did not provide any further details. Sources say predators were already being used for intelligence and reconnaissance missions in Libya.

Libya's deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Khaim has recently warned that this would increase civilian casualties.

"They (the drones) will kill more civilians and this is very sad," Khaim said on Friday.

He also added that the use of US predator drones would be a crime against humanity

The US already uses unmanned aircraft to carry out attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas, near the border with Afghanistan. Washington claims the attacks target militants, but most of the victims are civilians.

The United Nations said in a report in 2010 that the US-operated drone strikes in Pakistan pose a growing challenge to the international rule of law.

Philip Alston, UN special envoy on extrajudicial killings, said in a report that the attacks were undermining the rules designed to protect the right of life.

Alston also said he feared that the drone killings by the CIA could develop a "playstation" mentality.

The announcement comes amid persistent clashes between government troops and revolutionary forces.

In the city of Misratah, revolutionaries have claimed victory over troops loyal to embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Tripoli has decided to pull back from the city and leave the tribes in charge of disarming revolutionaries.

Despite this at least 25 people have been killed and another 100 inured in sporadic clashes Saturday.

Government sources say NATO airstrikes on the capital have killed three people.

Meanwhile, hospitals say they are overwhelmed and seriously lack supplies and personnel as patients arrive every few minutes.

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