Two rebel helicopters downed near Brega

Two rebel helicopters violating the no-fly zone over Libya were shot down by the Kadhafi regime in the Brega region in the east, deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaaim said late Saturday.

“The insurgents used two helicopters that were shot down in the Brega region,” Kaaim told a news conference here.

Asked if the choppers had been downed by the army loyal to Moamer Kadhafi, he replied that they had.

Kaaim hit out at the NATO forces in charge of applying Security Council Resolution 1973 imposing the air exclusion zone over Libya, saying: “NATO on Saturday permitted the rebels to violate this resolution and use combat helicopters.”

Claiming that NATO was siding with the rebels, Kaaim went on: “Our question to NATO: does this resolution concern only the Libyan government or the two sides?”

An AFP journalist on Saturday saw a Libyan military helicopter bearing the rebel colors flying at very low altitude towards the front in the Ajbabiya region of east Libya.

The international coalition has since March 19 imposed a no-fly zone over Libya under the UN resolution adopted on March 17. The rebellion against Kadhafi’s regime started in mid-February. abs cbc