Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Libya: France and Italy to send officers to aid rebels
France and Italy have said they are to send small teams of military officers to advise Libyan rebels who are seeking to topple Col Muammar Gaddafi.
French officials said fewer than 10 would be sent, while Italy's defence minister announced that 10 would go.
The UK said on Tuesday it was sending a similar team to the city of Benghazi.
Meanwhile, the UN has said the reported use of cluster munitions by Col Gaddafi's forces in the city of Misrata "could amount to international crimes".
"Reportedly one cluster bomb exploded just a few hundred metres from Misrata hospital, and other reports suggest at least two medical clinics have been hit by mortars or sniper fire," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.
Ms Pillay said the deliberate targeting of medical facilities was a war crime, and the deliberate targeting or reckless endangerment of civilians might also amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law.
"I urge the Libyan authorities to face the reality that they are digging themselves and the Libyan population deeper and deeper into the quagmire. They must halt the siege of Misrata," Ms Pillay added.
Later, two Western journalists were killed and two were injured, one of them seriously, in a mortar attack in Misrata. It took place around Tripoli Street, which forms part of the frontline.
Tim Hetherington died in a mortar attack in Misrata One of the dead has been named as Tim Hetherington, 41, a photojournalist and Oscar-nominated filmmaker who had dual British and American nationality.
The city's hospital said six people had been killed and 60 injured so far on Wednesday. Many of them had been shot by snipers.
One doctor told the BBC's Orla Guerin that he and his colleagues were exhausted by death and by blood, and asked where the international community was.