Nato blasts Libyan orphanage

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

LIBYANS have vowed to avenge the death of Muammar Gaddafi’s youngest son, killed in a Nato air raid on Tripoli last Saturday. The Nato strike also killed three of Gaddafi’s grandchildren when missiles hit a government compound and blasted an orphanage and a school for children with Down’s Syndrome.

The Libyan government says this was the fourth Nato attempt to assassinate Gaddafi who was in the building that was hit.

The rebels rejoiced when they heard the news and now they’re openly calling on the Americans to kill Gaddafi. The military spokesman for the Nato-backed “Transitional National Council” who welcomed the death of Osama bin Laden by US commandos told the media that the Americans should now move to finish Gaddafi as well. “A big part of international terrorism has now ended,” Ahmed Omar Bani declared “It would be a great gift if the US killed Gaddafi”.

Canadian General Charles Bouchard, who heads the Nato offensive against Libya, has again claimed that the imperialist alliance is not targeting individuals but Russia, China and many other countries in the Third World are openly challenging this and Moscow has again called for an immediate ceasefire to pave the way for talks between the loyalists and the imperialist-backed rebels. South Africa originally supported the UN Security Council Resolution authorising military intervention in Libya but later led an African Union effort to mediate in the conflict and has now joined in the criticism of the deadly Nato raid.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday accused Nato of a “disproportionate use of force” and cast doubt on Nato’s assertion that it is not targeting Gaddafi or members of his family. The Russian ministry called for “an immediate ceasefire and the beginning of a political settlement process without preconditions”.

But Turkey, which maintained diplomatic links with the Gaddafi government and the rebels to pose as an honest broker in mediation efforts, has dropped the mask and joined its other Nato allies in calling on Gaddafi to step down.

Angry crowds took to the streets of the Libyan capital on Sunday torching the empty American, British and Italian embassies, wrecking UN offices and destroying the residence of the British ambassador. And thousands of mourners filled the streets of Tripoli the next day for the funeral cortege, led by Gaddafi’s two other sons, to the cemetery where the Libyan leader joined his family to condemn the murderous imperialist attack.

A senior Catholic priest in Tripoli has appealed to Nato, the UN and the international community to end the bombing of Libya. Giovanni Martinelli, the Bishop of Tripoli, said: “I ask, please, out of respect for the pain due to the loss of a son, a gesture of humanity towards the leader”. The bishop, who has lived in Libya for over 30 years, said Muammar Gaddafi was “a great friend and we must help him find a form of dialogue” with the international community.

But the Nato air raids are continuing relentlessly in an attempt to break the stalemate in the civil war, which has left the rebels only in control of most of the eastern province of Cyrenaica and the besieged port of Misrata in the west.

Between 31st March and 24th April alone there were 3,438 Nato sorties over Libya and 1,432 air-strikes in an onslaught that is supposedly enforcing a “no fly” zone.