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Updated: May 6, 2011 02:00 IST

Hillary warns Qadhafi

Narayan Lakshman
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, shake hands, ahead of a diplomatic meeting on Libya at Rome's Foreign Ministry, on Thursday.
AP U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, shake hands, ahead of a diplomatic meeting on Libya at Rome's Foreign Ministry, on Thursday.

Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of State, has refused to rule out an Abbottabad-like covert-operations strike against Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi.

At a news conference in Rome, Italy, where the Secretary is attending a meeting of the Libya Contact Group, she was asked whether it was imaginable that an operation such as the one conducted in Pakistan could take place in Tripoli, given that the National Transition Council rebel formation considered Qadhafi a legitimate target.

In response Ms. Clinton did not categorically rule out a military strike similar to the attack that led to the killing of al Qaeda leader and alleged terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden last Sunday in Pakistan.

Instead she said, “We are implementing United Nations security resolution with respect to protecting civilians. We have made it abundantly clear that the best way to protect civilians is for Qadhafi to cease his ruthless, brutal attacks on civilians from the West to the East, to withdraw from the cities that he is sieging and attacking, and to leave power.”

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