Nato kills several libyan rebels Ajdabiya, libya:An alleged nato air strike on libyan rebel tanks killed several people on thursday, including a paramedic, sending furious insurgents into a chaotic retreat to the town of ajdabiya. For the past week the rebels have been waiting in vain for nato air strikes to dislodge moamer qadhafi's forces from the oil town of brega, which the opposition has twice seized and lost in their monthold struggle. Three fighters and a paramedic who witnessed the attack said there was no fighting at the time and that the aircraft circled the area before striking a group of tanks, destroying them and sending shrapnel into a nearby ambulance. Rebel soldiers had prevented reporters from travelling to the front from ajdabiya all morning, without giving any reason.Fighters later said that at least 25 tanks had been partyescheap brought up to the front the night before. At midday a convoy of ambulances and rebel military vehicles came racing back through the checkpoint bound for ajdabiya's hospital, where around a dozen wounded men were carried in as onlookers shouted"God is greatest! " "There was no fighting anywhere nearby.They flew back and forth and then they bombed our forces,"Said saleh faraj, 34, a defected soldier who rode in on one of the pickup trucks carrying the wounded. "After they struck there were dead people everywhere.There were pieces of dead people.My friends,"Said a tearful amir mohammed, 20. "Nato is with moamer,"He muttered bitterly.Inside the hospital rebel fighters in military fatigues fell to their knees and sobbed while others angrily accused nato of aiding qadhafi's forces despite its un mandate to protect civilians. "As soon as they launched the air strike, qadhafi's forces fired grad rockets at us.They were working together,"Said attiya mohammed, 23 who said he was operating a nearby rebel rocket launcher at the time of the attack. Nato a week ago took over from a us, french and british coalition which had since march 19 been enforcing a un mandate to protect civilians in libya.It has said that qadhafi's air force is completely grounded. On thursday the alliance said it was"Looking into the specific details of an alleged strike on a column of tanks outside of brega today. " "The fighting between brega and ajdabiya, where the strike occurred, has been fierce for several days.The situation is unclear and fluid with mechanised weapons travelling in all directions,"It said. High winds had kicked up a sandstorm earlier in the day, which could have obscured evening dresses australia visibility. Last friday, a day after it took charge, nato warplanes killed nine rebels and four civilians near brega after celebratory gunfire from insurgents prompted pilots to fire in selfdefence. As the fighters on thursday mourned their dead and despaired of their battle against qadhafi's better trained and more organised troops, another ambulance arrived, this time carrying paramedics. Shrapnel from the air strike had shattered an ambulance's windows, killing a paramedic inside and wounding two others, according to dr othman faitori, 28, who sat sobbing in the entryway of the hospital. "What does nato want?Do they want to kill us all? " Hospital medics wrapped their dead comrade's body in a libyan flag and carried it to the morgue in an impromptu funeral march as at least one man wailed with grief and medics in blue scrubs and white lab coats cried. "There is no god but god.He is a martyr beloved by god,"They chanted as they carried the body across a courtyard to the morgue. Soon thereafter, rumours spread that qadhafi's forces had advanced behind the screaming ambulances and reached the western gate of the city.The sound of shelling could be heard off in the distance. As the sandstorm cheap cocktail dresses australia whipped through the small town already largely deserted the rebel rocket launchers and antiaircraft guns that had been off in the desert the past few days took up position along the streets. Thousands of civilian cars and several military vehicles raced away towards the rebel stronghold of benghazi, a confused mass fleeing from rapidly advancing battle lines lost in the shifting sands.
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