Sirte, eight civilians killed during airstrikes. Apostolic vicar: "Pray for Libya"
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Mgr. Martinelli, stresses that the population is suffering from the NATO military operation against the Gaddafi regime. Lack of water, food and fuel in affected cities. The prelate affirms that the Church is there to serve the Libyan people and the many Christian migrants in the country. "If the purpose is to protect civilian life - he says – instead they are destroying it."

Tripoli (AsiaNews) - The NATO airstrikes in Libya have left eight more civilian casualties in Sirte, especially women and children, and over 40 deaths among the ranks of the Gaddafi military. This is confirmed by Mgr. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Vicar Apostolic of Tripoli. "The effects of war are being felt – says the archbishop - water, food and fuel are becoming scarce in the city." Archbishop Martinelli points out that the bombs are crippling the population.

"Today – he continues - there were more than 50 abortions in the hospital in Tripoli, due to the the trauma of the war." According to the archbishop "a bomb can not accurately destroy a military site, instead it has unforeseen consequences that can affect innocent people, homes and hospitals. If the purpose is to defend civilian life in reality, they are destroying it".

Despite the fighting and explosions, Mgr. Martinelli said that the Church is very present and continues her work, especially among the many migrant Christians still in Libya, offering their services in hospitals and social work. "The people - he says – come to Church, there are those who feel the need to gather spiritually, to be together. Today, more than 200 people attended the Mass that we celebrate every Friday, a day of celebration for Muslims. "

The prelate stresses that so far the Church has not suffered directly, but is particularly saddened by what is happening. "We are at the service of the Libyan people - he explains - in addition to the religious sisters who work in the social and medical field, there are also many Filipino Christian girls who work in hospitals. It is quite hard for them to live and serve the people in this difficult reality in various hospitals in Libya". According to the prelate the Church's role in this war is to bear witness to a service of love and charity, especially to the wounded and those who suffer.

In terms of humanitarian aid, Mgr. Martinelli points out that currently the International policy is against any interference. "Libya is considered a rich country, however, the Church accepts any contribution, especially for foreign migrants, who thanks to indirect aid have been able to return to their countries”.

Archbishop Martinelli launches an appeal and calls on all Christians to pray for Libya. "Only the power of prayer can move man in his desire to pursue in war and violence." Echoing the words of the Pope at the Angelus on March 27, the prelate says that the "war must end, or at least there must be a truce, so that the parties involved can meet to agree an end of hostilities, especially raising awareness in the African Union. " (Sc)