Libya disabled children school hit in NATO strike

Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:08pm GMT
 

A mound of rubble was all that remained of one wing of the main building that adjoined the school, though an antenna of some kind protruded from the ruins.

Both Mehdi and Seddigh said they had assumed that the antenna on the building was there to strengthen mobile phone signals and were not aware of any other use.

In the rubble of the main building, a shredding machine packed with sliced up documents lay on its side. A fax and phone were nearby and shelves of files could be seen.

The Libyan government has repeatedly said that NATO airstrikes have hurt and killed civilians but has not responded to requests by journalists to visit the hospitals, making it tough to verify casualty figures.

NATO has hit inside or near Gaddafi's compound before, or struck military or logisitical sites. Saturday's government-organised visit was the first to bring journalists -- whom government minders watch closely -- to a civilian site.

Inside the school, the power had been knocked out by the strikes, the floor was wet because of a leaking pipe and desks were covered in glass and debris.

Seddigh's school prepared children with Down's Syndrome up to the age of 6 to go to normal schools, giving them speech therapy, handicrafts and sports sessions and teaching them to read and write. It handles 50 to 60 children a day. (Reporting by Lin Noueihed)

 
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.