LIBYAN leader Muammar Gadaffi has been accused of using weapons banned under international law after a rocket loaded with ball bearings landed in the front yard of a civilian house.
The incident on Wednesday, in the coastal town of Ajdabiya situated about two hours west of the rebel stronghold Benghazi, left four people injured including a groom due to marry that day, according to the owner of the house Aguila Shuaib.
There had been no fighting in the town at the time with the frontline some 40km away.
Attacking civilian areas indiscriminately violates international law and can constitute a war crime.
Mr Shuaib and his family were inside the house having breakfast when they heard the explosion that blew doors off the house and destroyed two cars at around 9am but were unharmed.
However four people preparing for a wedding in the street behind were hit in the body and neck by the small pieces of metal that pierced thick metal gates eight metres from the explosion.
He said: “I was terrified. The kids were shouting. I didn’t expect a missile to reach my house [but] I am not surprised because last time he [Gadaffi] bring an army with him.
“There were four people inju
red. The groom was injured at the same time. It was his wedding day for him and he prepare for the wedding and out of the blue the rocket attack the house.”
The wedding went ahead the following day.
Mr Shuaib said it was the first time he had known such a weapon to be used and it is a further sign that Gadaffi is prepared to target civilians after threatening on Thursday to bomb the capital Tripoli if the rebels attempt to take the city.
He said: “It [the ball bearings] spread all over the area. The car was destroyed and the house was destroyed from the inside and the door is completely destroyed; it is metal. It’s a new kind of weapon. This is forbidden internationally.”
The rocket was one of three to hit the town, that is around 80km east of Braga, an oil town that has been the focal point of intense fighting between the two sides, on the day, according to residents and rebel fighters.
Dozens of pick-up trucks with heavy weapons mounted on the back could be seen on the coastal road ferrying rebel soldiers to and from the frontline outside the town.
On Thursday night reports from the frontline claimed Braga had been taken by the rebels but by Friday morning it became clear it was still in Gadaffi’s hands.