Air strikes on Libyan military targets by western coalition forces are being hampered by the use of “human shields” by Moammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to a senior NATO official.
Gaddafi’s soldiers are apparently hiding military equipment in densely populated areas, in Misrata and other locales, said Brigadier General Marc van Uhm, chief of allied operations at NATO.
This practice is also hurting efforts to prevent Gaddafi’s troops from attacking civilians.
Van Uhm added that Gaddafi’s forces have started to use the kinds of cars and light trucks that rebels tend to use—making it more difficult for NATO warplanes to identify who’s who.
Consequently, NATO’s bombing raids have been reduced or postponed, prompting criticism from Libyan rebels who cite that their forces and civilians are enduring severe attacks from pro-government militias.
Before we put our faith in God and we were winning. Now we put our faith in NATO and we are losing, a rebel fighter near Brega said, according to CNN.
However, Van Uhm countered that his warplanes made 58 air strike missions on Monday, destroying at least 14 Gaddafi targets.
According to NATO, their military jets have conducted more than 300 sorties since it took command of the Libyan campaign on March 23.
I think you can safely say the operational tempo continues unabated, a NATO spokesperson added.
In fact, Van Uhm estimates that air strikes under his command have destroyed about 30 percent of Gaddafi's military capacity.
Meanwhile, there appears no end in sight to the military battle on the ground in Libya.