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Tripoli anger at NATO strike that 'killed imams'

Tripoli anger at NATO strike that 'killed imams'
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Colonel Gaddafi is taunting NATO saying “you can’t reach me”. The defiant message is mixed with anger from Tripoli over a NATO attack that allegedly killed civilians.

State TV has broadcast an audio message in which the Libyan leader apparently dismisses reports that he has been injured.

“I am in a place where you cannot reach and kill me, because I am living in the hearts of millions,” says the voice, calling NATO a “cowardly crusader”. “Even if you kill my body my soul is going to stay in people’s hearts.”

Earlier the Italian foreign minister suggested Gaddafi had probably left Tripoli after being wounded in an air strike on his compound.

The Libyan authorities dismissed the claim.

“The leader is in very good health: high morale, high spirits,” said government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim. “He is in Tripoli, he is fighting the fight forward, he is leading the country day by day, but the timing of the statement is to cover the horrendous crime committed in the early hours of this morning against our imams.”

Tripoli claims that air strike on Brega in the east killed 11 mostly Muslim clerics and injured 45 people.

NATO which initially denied knowledge of the attack, now says the building struck had been clearly identified as a “command and control” centre.

Aware of the allegations of civilian casualties, NATO said in a statement:

“Although we cannot independently confirm the validity of the claim, we regret any loss of life by innocent civilians when they occur.”