Gaddafi and mercenaries have killed 1,000, says Italian government 

What do you do when your soldiers refuse to slaughter their fellow countrymen? Hire mercenaries, apparently. The New York Times reports a few details about Mummar Gaddafi's employment of “thousands” of mercenaries, who are happy to fire upon protesters.

Witnesses said groups of heavily armed militiamen and mercenaries from other African countries cruised the streets in pickups, spraying crowds with machine-gun fire and then carting away bodies in vans. On Wednesday, a resident said mercenaries were still roaming the city and enforcing a reign of terror.

Previously, Libyan airmen flew two attack aircraft to Malta rather than fire on civilian targets. A third pilot crashed his plane after ejecting, also to avoid killing civilians.

The Italian government estimates the death toll at about 1,000 so far.

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