06/01/2011, 00.00
LIBYA

Bishop of Tripoli: NATO bombs a Coptic church. Civilian Casualties.

Last night the bombs damaged a Coptic church located near a military barracks. Migrant Filipino Catholics witness charity among the Libyan people affected by war.

Tripoli (AsiaNews) - "NATO has intensified bombings and continues to create victims. The missiles are falling everywhere and, unfortunately, not only affect military zones, but also civilian areas. The people in Tripoli are suffering, even if nobody talks about it. " So says Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli. The prelate said that the bombing last night damaged several buildings, including a Coptic church located a few hundred meters from a military barracks.

According to the Libyan Government, the NATO operation against Gaddafi has killed more than 700 people and injured over four thousand, but so far officials from the regime do not allow the verification of that information. Monsignor Martinelli explains that the city lacks fuel and the population is afraid to leave home; psychological damage is also caused by the bombings.

The prelate emphasizes the active presence of more than three thousand migrant Filipino Catholics, working in different hospitals in the city and throughout the country. They attend Mass every week in the cathedral despite the bombings. For the prelate, "they represent the heart of the local Catholic community and are a testimony of love and service to the Libyan people who suffer."

Meanwhile, NATO today announced the extension of the mission to Libya by an additional 90 days. "This decision is a clear message to the regime of Gaddafi," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO. Underlining the humanitarian nature of the mission, the Secretary General appealed to all the Libyan people: "We remain united and we guarantee that the day when you can shape your future is coming."

On 30 May, Professor Angelo Del Boca spoke to AsiaNews about the unusual duration of this war. According to the historian, "the high cost of the operation against Gaddafi has transformed a lightening conflict into a war of nonsense by the media. What NATO hoped to achieve with the No Fly Zone has now been dissolved."

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