Libya says 9 civilians killed in NATO airstrike

Posted June 19, 2011, at 7:27 p.m.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s government said NATO warplanes struck a residential neighborhood in the capital Sunday and killed nine civilians, including two children. Hours later, NATO confirmed one of its airstrikes went astray.

The incident gave supporters of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime a new rallying point against the international intervention in Libya’s civil war. The foreign minister called for a “global jihad” on the West in response.

In a statement issued late Sunday at Brussels headquarters, NATO said airstrikes were launched against a military missile site in Tripoli, but “it appears that one weapon did not strike the intended target and that there may have been a weapons system failure which may have caused a number of civilian casualties.”

“NATO regrets the loss of innocent civilian lives and takes great care in conducting strikes against a regime determined to use violence against its own citizens,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of the anti-Libya operation.

12 militants killed in Yemen by shelling

SANAA, Yemen — Government forces in southern Yemen killed 12 al-Qaida-linked militants and wounded three others in shelling attacks Sunday, officials said.

They said the shelling was concentrated on the Dufas area in Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province. Eight soldiers were wounded in the fighting, according to the military hospital.

Militants are taking advantage of internal strife in Yemen to overrun parts of the country.

A senior military official said the shelling was meant to clear way for the armed forces to retake the city. The Islamic militants used to counterattack in night raids but have not hit back for three days, the official said.

US envoy reproaches Afghan president on criticism

KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan publicly reproached Afghanistan’s president Sunday for painting American forces here as occupiers and enemies — one of the strongest signs yet that Afghanistan’s international allies are no longer willing to excuse President Hamid Karzai’s harangues as harmless domestic politicking.

U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry told university students and faculty in the western city of Herat that he felt the need to speak from his heart as he reaches the end of his two-year tour as ambassador.

He was strongly critical of the Afghan president, without naming Karzai.

In recent speeches, Karzai has said the U.S. is in danger of becoming an occupying force, threatened to take unspecified “unilateral action” against international forces that conduct air strikes and accused international allies of undermining and corrupting his government.

Spanish reformists stage rallies in 60 cities

MADRID — Tens of thousands of Spaniards demonstrated Sunday around the country, blaming the country’s economic crisis on politicians and bankers, and demanding democratic reforms.

Rallies were held in about 60 cities. Police and officials put the number of demonstrators at nearly 40,000 in Madrid, 20,000 in Barcelona, 18,000 in Granada, and several thousand in Valencia, Seville and Bilbao. No violence was reported.

Six marches converged near the parliament building in central Madrid. Protesters read out a manifesto calling for a general strike and a revolution. In the evening, demonstrators gathered at Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square.

The protest movement, known as 15-M or The Indignant Ones, was launched with similar rallies on May 15, one week before Spain’s local and regional elections. The movement was begun by young people but Sunday’s protest drew people of all ages.

Sunday’s rallies protested the power of financial markets over politics, the economic crisis, corruption, and the Pact for the Euro, which is designed to stimulate growth in the common currency zone.

 

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