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July 29, 2011

NATO Bombs Libyan Satellite Dishes

NATO says it has bombed three Libyan satellite dishes in the capital, Tripoli, in an effort to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from using state television to intimidate civilians.

But the Libyan Broadcasting Corporation condemned the attack Saturday, saying three employees were killed and 15 more wounded.  An LBC official said the channel is not a "military target" and its employees were doing their jobs as journalists, posing no threat to civilians.

A NATO spokesman, Colonel Roland Lavoie, said the strike was "necessary," because he said Gadhafi used television broadcasts to "oppress and threaten" the Libyan people and incite attacks against them.  He said the strike on the satellite dishes was carried out after "careful planning" to minimize the risk of casualties or long-term damage to television transmission capabilities.

Libyan state television remained on the air following the strike.

NATO has been conducting air raids in Libya since March under a United Nations mandate to protect Libyan civilians from Mr. Gadhafi's forces. The Libyan leader has been trying to crush a rebellion against his 41-year rule.

News reports said several explosions rocked Tripoli Friday night.

Earlier Friday, thousands of Libyans turned out in rebel-held Benghazi for the funeral of the opposition's military chief, who was shot dead in the city Thursday under mysterious circumstances.

Abdel Fattah Younes had been part of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle before joining the rebels earlier this year.

The opposition National Transitional Council (TNC) says it is investigating the killing. It has said only that Younes was gunned down on his way to Benghazi, where he had been summoned to discuss "a military matter."

Earlier, rebels said they had detained Younes on suspicion his family may still have ties to Gadhafi's government.

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

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