05/24/2011, 00.00
LIBYA
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NATO raids on Tripoli stepped up. Three dead and over 150 injured

Fighter planes carry out more than 20 raid against military buildings near Gaddafi bunker. France and Britain announce the use of helicopter gunships in future operations. President of the Italian Bishops, Cardinal Bagnasco calls for a ceasefire and the European Union to provide funds for the thousands of Libyan refugees fleeing to Italy and other European countries.

Tripoli (AsiaNews / Agencies) - NATO has intensified bombing of Tripoli. According to Moussa Ibrahim, spokesman for the regime, the raid last night caused three deaths and 150 injuries among civilians.

Fighters jets carried out over 20 raids in less than half an hour, destroying a military barracks and other buildings just a few meters from the bunker of Muammar Gaddafi. Local sources report about 20 explosions, and not only near the hiding place of the rais, but also in other parts of the city. Since the beginning of the operation, this is the toughest action launched by NATO against the Gaddafi regime. Today, France and Britain have announced the use of military helicopters in the operation alongside the Libyan rebels in  Benghazi. According to Gerard Lunguet, French Defense Minister the decision respects UN resolution 1973. Support for the rebels has also extended at the diplomatic level. Yesterday, the U.S issued a formal invitation to the National Transitional Council to open a representative office in Washington.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church still calls for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of a dialogue between the Libyan regime, NATO and the rebels. Speaking at the opening of the General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, said that "today the invoked and sudden international intervention, created under the aegis of the UN and conducted with the involvement of NATO, has raised serious questions and tensions. " "We believe - he adds - that diplomacy is the right way forward and perhaps still desired by the parties involved. Diplomacy is the only  premise and condition for identifying an 'African way' into the future proposed by the young people, but also to avoid possible extremist forces emerging that would have unpredictable and serious outcome. "

The cardinal also criticized the European Union that still refuses to concern itself for the fate of thousands of refugees in Libya, who every day set sail for Italy. The Archbishop asks "why was there money and political understanding the missiles," while for the refugees, “there are neither funds nor agreement among the EU members?

Bagnasco, recalls that "the whole of Europe is in debt to Africa, and must act now so as not to fail the efforts of these people who are marching for a future that is more democratic and respectful of human rights, through measures appropriate to this situation.

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