NATO denies targeting Gaddafi in Tripoli strike

April 26, 2011 12:00 am

, BRUSSELS, Apr 26 – NATO denied Tuesday that an air strike on Muammar Gaddafi compound was an attempt on his life, saying its mission was to protect the population not bring regime change to Libya.

Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, commander of NATO\’s Libya mission, said the target of late Sunday\’s bombing was a command and control facility inside the compound used to direct attacks against civilians.

"I continue to stay focused, not about individuals, this is not about individuals, this is not about regime change, this is about bringing an end to violence against the population," Bouchard said.

Gaddafi "was not in the room when the bomb fell on the building as we saw him on television the day after that," he told reporters via videoconference from his headquarters in Naples, Italy.

"The point here is, this is about command and control nodes, not about individuals," Bouchard said.

In addition to hitting forces directly threatening civilians, he said NATO is focusing on destroying command and control centres as well as lines of communication and the supply chain for forces threatening the population.

"Not a day goes by that I don\’t see pro-Gaddafi forces using violence against men, women and children," Bouchard said, adding that regime troops are still using civilians as human shields against NATO strikes.

"Our mission is to bring an end to that," the Canadian general said.

"Our mission is to bring an environment where diplomacy can take place, dialogue can take place and we can bring to the people of Libya an environment where they can decide for themselves their own future of their country."

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