NATO: Bombing Roman ruins possible

June 14, 2011 at 8:37 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, June 14 (UPI) -- NATO said Tuesday it has been unable to confirm rebel reports Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is hiding military equipment in ancient Roman ruins.

A NATO official who declined to give his name told CNN the alliance would bomb the ruins of Leptis Magna, between Tripoli and Misurata, if it confirmed the equipment was there.

NATO began bombing Libya March 19 to protect civilians from Gadhafi's forces. The alliance has voted to extend its mission into September, but Adm. Mark Stanhope admitted to CNN the bombing raids are putting a strain on British resources.

"If we do it for longer than six months, then we have to reprioritize our forces," Stanhope said, adding, "That does not mean we won't be doing it."

Germany Monday formally recognized the rebel Transitional National Council during a visit by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to Benghazi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged African nations to expel pro-Gadhafi diplomats during an appearance at the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

RIA Novosti reported Gadhafi told International Chess Federation President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov he is ready to talk with NATO and the rebels but ruled out resigning. Ilyumzhinov was in Tripoli Sunday and played chess with Gadhafi, the Russian news agency reported.

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