From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Libya: Six injured as US team botches rescue of downed airmen
Libyans said US helicopter came in with guns firing, creating panic and wounding onlookers after F-15E Strike Eagle crash
* Ewen MacAskill in Washington, Tom Kington on USS Kearsarge and Chris McGreal on the outskirts of Ajdabiya
* Tuesday 22 March 2011 21.25 GMT
US forces sent into Libya to rescue two downed American airmen botched the mission by shooting and wounding friendly villagers who had come to help, witnesses have said.
Libyans who went to investigate the US warplane’s crash site said that a US helicopter had come in with guns firing, creating panic and wounding onlookers, some of whom had to be taken to hospital; one 20-year-old man is expected to have his leg amputated.
The villagers said they had been searching for the plane’s missing airmen to welcome them and help them.
A member of the Libyan rebel forces at the site of the crash, Omar Sayid, a colonel of the military police, told Channel Four News: “We are disturbed about the shooting, because if they’d given us a chance we would have handed over both pilots. This shooting created panic.” …
Although the US military refuses to confirm or deny reports of any shooting, villagers told reporters that the American rescuers strafed the field where one airman had landed, and villagers had been injured.
Hamid Moussa el-Amruni, whose family owns the farm where the US plane’s weapons officer had hid, told AP that he himself had wounds in his leg and back from shrapnel. …
Channel Four’s Lindsey Hilsum spoke to the villagers, and visited Jala hospital in Benghazi where some of the injured were treated. Among them was Hamad Abdul Ati, 43, who had bullet and shrapnel wounds. He said he was puzzled rather than angry, and did not understand why the Americans had been so aggressive in their rescue mission.
“We consider that whoever is shot down or a prisoner of war, we should save him and hand him over,” he told Hilsum from his hospital bed. “But another plane shot at me and Hamdy, my son. I have shrapnel in my hand.”Hospital staff said that Hamdy, aged 20, wa s having an operation to amputate his leg.
“Why did this happen? My car is destroyed, my home is damaged. We would have just picked the second pilot up and put him wherever he wanted in a safe place. Even the other one, we had a celebration for him,” Abdul Ati said.
Joschka Fischer, former spokesman of the Green Party and minister of foreign affairs in the Social Democratic Party-Green Party coalition government, is at the forefront of the agitation for German involvement in the war against Libya: here.