06/20/2011, 00.00
LIBYA
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Families flee after NATO air strike kills eight in Tripoli neighbourhood

Sources tell AsiaNews that a child is among the dead. NATO admits killing civilians, saying the incident was the result of weapons systems failure. The situation elsewhere in the city is stable. Despite air raids, hundreds of Catholics attend Mass services in Tripoli church.
Tripoli (AsiaNews) – Eight people, including a child, were killed in last night’s NATO air strike in Tripoli’s Souk al-Juma neighbourhood, local sources told AsiaNews. Dozens of families from the area have fled to other parts of the city or abroad.

Overnight, NATO acknowledged for the first time since the start of the war that it killed civilians, saying that the incident was due to a “weapons systems failure”. Souk al-Juma is about two kilometres from a military airfield, which was the strike’s intended target.

Despite the fear, the situation is table inside the city. “Stores, banks and public buildings are open,” the source said. “People are complaining about the air strikes, but everyone is trying to lead as normal a life as possible.”

On Friday, thousands came out to protest peacefully in Green Square demanding an end to NATO bombing.

Meanwhile, Tripoli’s tiny Catholic community is hanging on despite the bombs. “Hundreds of people took part in Mass,” the source said. “Some were not able to make because they couldn’t get from one side of the city to the other, not out of fear of the bombs.”

Since the start of the war, about 2,000 Catholics have been left in the Libyan capital, mostly foreign workers from the Philippines employed as nurses or doctors in the various hospitals of Tripolitania.

Today a delegation from the Apostolic Vicariate of Tripoli will try to reach Catholic migrants stranded in Sirte, where they are unable to reach the capital because of air raids. (S.C.)
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