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The Libyan government caught out trying to pass off a 7-month-old car crash victim as a an "air strike victim" in an attempt to show how NATO bombing harms civilians.
The Libyan government was caught out trying to pass off a 7-month-old car crash victim as a an "air strike victim" as part of its attempts to show how NATO bombing is harming civilians.
According to the Guardian, foreign journalists in Tripoli were to a hospital Sunday night to see the girl, Nasib, who lay unconscious.
Media handlers claimed she had been hurt when a bomb exploded in a field near her house on the eastern edge of the capital a few hours earlier.
But a member of the medical staff slipped a note written in English on hospital stationery to a reporter, which was seen by Reuters, that said: "This is a case of road traffic accident. This is the truth."
Journalists' suspicions had already been raised during an earlier visit to the bomb site in the suburb of Tajura where the girl was said to have been injured.
Talking to journalists, Mohamed Elounsi, the son of the owner of the field, described how a black and white dog and a dozen or so chickens and pigeons had been killed in the evening strike, but said nobody had been injured.
Elounsi said: "I lost my birds, one dog and my cows nearly died." Shockwaves from the blast destroyed a room in one house and shattered numerous windows, he said. "My message to Obama is, 'Why do you send this [bomb] to my father's farm.'"
Meanwhile, NATO has begun using attack helicopters in strikes against forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The alliance claims the helicopters — British Apaches and French Gazelle and Tiger helicopters — give greater precision in hitting military targets.
Flying from a British ship close to the coast, the Apache helicopters are also being used to hit Gaddafi forces hiding from NATO jets, CBS reports.
Until Saturday, NATO had relied aircraft that typically fly above 15,000 feet, or nearly three miles, and which have been known to mistakenly hit opposition forces by mistake.
In attacks on Saturday, British Apaches hit two targets near the eastern oil town of Brega, CBS reports. French helicopters struck 15 military vehicles and five military command buildings.
British jets also struck a military compound in the Libyan capital, Xinhua reports. A NATO official said Royal Air Force tornados fired eight missiles into a surface-to-air missile depot early on Sunday.