Libyan gov't slams NATO raids on civilian neighborhood

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A Libyan government spokesman on Sunday condemned NATO air raids on a civilian neighborhood, calling the attack another "barbaric" crime "deliberately targeting civilians."

Mussa Ibrahim said the leaders of the United States, Britain, France and Italy in charge of the military actions in Libya should take the moral and legal responsibilities for the attack, which targeted a residential area with no military facilities or weapons installed nearby.

NATO warplanes struck the neighborhood early Sunday morning, killing 9 people, including five members of a family, and wounding 18 others. As a Xinhua reporter saw at the scene, a three-story building was reduced to crumbling wrecks, dozens of homes and scores of vehicles nearby damaged or destroyed, and windows of a school building shattered.

NATO warplanes were circling overhead for more than one hour after the raids, causing great panic to local residents.

In a statement issued later on Sunday, NATO admitted that civilian casualties were caused during the airstrikes -- in the first such acknowledgement since the alliance began its air operations in March.

According to other reports, fighting intensified Sunday between rebels and government troops outside the port city of Misrata, the main rebel stronghold in western Libya, leaving 9 people dead and 15 others wounded.

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