Libya says three dead in NATO strikes on TV

Tripoli - 

Three people were killed and 15 wounded in NATO air strikes on the Libyan television headquarters in the capital early on Saturday, the director of the broadcaster's English-language service said.

"Three of our colleges were murdered and 15 injured while performing their professional duty as Libyan journalists," Khaled Basilia of Al-Jamahiriya television said in a statement. He called the air strike "an act of international terrorism and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions."

Earlier, NATO in Brussels announced it had carried out precision strikes on three Libyan television transmitters to silence "terror broadcasts" by Moamer Gadhafi's regime.

"A few hours ago, NATO conducted a precision air strike that disabled three ground-based Libyan state TV satellite transmission dishes in Tripoli... with the intent of degrading Gadhafi’s use of satellite television as a means to intimidate the Libyan people and incite acts of violence against them," a statement said.

The strike was "performed by NATO fighter aircraft using state-of-the-art precision guided munitions," said the statement released by alliance spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie.

"In light of our (UN) mandate to protect civilian lives, we had to act. After due consideration and careful planning to minimize the risks of casualties or long-term damage to television transmission capabilities, NATO performed the strike," he said.

But Basilia said the channel posed no threat to civilians. "We are not a military target, we are not commanders in the army and we do not pose threat to civilians," he said.

"We are performing our job as journalists representing what we wholeheartedly believe is the reality of NATO's aggression and the violence in Libya," Basilia said.

"As journalists, we demand that we get full protection from the international community and ask our brothers in the profession from all the world to stand against such attacks targeting media personnel."

AFP

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