When a deadly air strike hit a rebel convoy headed to the Libyan town of Brega on Thursday, the rebels initially blamed NATO "friendly fire," only to later claim that Muammar Qaddafi's air force was responsible for the attack, in what would have been the first breach of the coalition's no-fly zone.
News reports this morning, however, suggest that the no-fly zone remains in force. In a press conference on Friday, British Rear Admiral Russell Harding confirmed that it was NATO planes that hit the rebels tanks yesterday but refused to apologize, arguing that the rebels did not inform the alliance that they had tanks, which traditionally have only been used by Qaddafi's forces. As the BBC points out, Harding's statement contradicts rebel commander Abdelfatah Yunis' earlier claim that the rebels had informed NATO about their tank movement and coordinates. Since NATO assumed command of the military operation in Libya a week ago, coalition air strikes have mistakenly hit one other rebel convoy and accidentally killed civilians in an attack on a pro-Qaddafi convoy, according to the BBC.
The AP, along with other news outlets, has posted video of the NATO air strike on rebel tanks. You can see the missile fall from the sky about 10 seconds in, generating the explosion shown in the photo above.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.