NATO Planes Bomb West Libya

Tripoli, Jun 22 (Prensa Latina) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization stepped up its air raids against western Libya, after attacking two civilian checkpoints in Khoms and the town of Nalut, and losing an unmanned helicopter near Zlitan.

NATO planes and helicopters increased their incursions in support backing the armed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, according to JANA news agency and Al Jamahiriya state television.

The most intense attacks occurred Tuesday against two checkpoints taken over by civilians to organize traffic circulation in Khoms, some 120 kilometers (about 74.5 miles) east of Tripoli in western Libya, the television report said.

The bombings continued very early today, apparently as part of a new stage in the strategy NATO is carrying out in western Libyan against police posts and checkpoints along roads leading to the capital, where the Gaddafi government is based, JANA commented.

Meanwhile, local television broadcast footage of the NATO drone the government allegedly brought down Tuesday. NATO admitted the loss of the helicopter, but denied it was brought down.

According to NATO, the unmanned chopper was on a surveillance mission near Zlitan when it crashed. This is the first time NATO has lost a drone since it began attacking Libya on March 19.

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