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NATO Admits to Accidental Strike on Libyan Rebels


Mourners carry the coffin of a man killed in yesterday's NATO air strike on rebel vehicles on the road between Ajdabiyah and Brega, during Friday prayers in Benghazi, April 8, 2011

Mourners carry the coffin of a man killed in yesterday's NATO air strike on rebel vehicles on the road between Ajdabiyah and Brega, during Friday prayers in Benghazi, April 8, 2011

NATO has confirmed it was responsible for airstrikes that hit Libyan rebel tanks outside the eastern city of Brega Thursday, blaming the confusing situation on the ground.

NATO deputy commander Russell Harding told reporters Friday that allied forces had never seen rebels operating tanks before. Rebel leaders say four people died in the strikes.

Harding refused to apologize for the incident, saying the "fluid" situation in Brega made it difficult to distinguish who was operating the vehicles.

The oil town has gone back and forth between rebel and government control during weeks of fighting, with both sides advancing and retreating.

Meantime, United Nations investigators say they will examine human rights violations committed by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and by rebel fighters.

War crimes expert Cherif Bassiouni, who is heading the three-member commission of inquiry said they will travel to Libya Sunday and will travel to the east and west before returning at the end of the month.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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