The exterior wall of a Libyan government military compound lies in rubble following a NATO airstrike in the town of Bir al-Ghanam in western Libya, August 8, 2011. Libyan rebel fighters who took control of the town on Sunday after a five hour battle with Gaddafi forces said that NATO warplanes struck multiple targets in the town early Saturday. REUTERS

As the Libyan conflict continues to drag on, more and more conflicting reports emerge, making it difficult to dissociate propaganda from facts.

On Tuesday, Libyan officials announced that 85 civilians had been killed in a NATO strike in which struck farm compounds in the village of Majar, about 150 kilometres east of Tripoli, claims which were later denied by the alliance, which said it hit a legitimate military target.

According to Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesperson for the Gadhafi government, who took foreign reporters to the scene, the victims included 33 children, 32 women and 20 men.

"This is a crime beyond imagination. Everything about this place is civilian," Ibrahim said.

The reporters who were brought in the compound later said in their reports that while they did not see evidence of weapons in the farmhouses, there was also no blood or body parts immediately visible.

Government officials also showed footage 'that appeared to show men combing through the rubble at one of the bomb sites at night retrieving human remains, including the bodies of two children', according to The New York Times.

The newspaper also reported that one of its correspondents was later on taken to the Zlitan hospital and was presented with up to 20 bags, "most of the dead at the Zlitan hospital appeared to be men but some were children. One contained the body of a child who appeared to be about 2 years old," the reports read.

Journalists said they saw up to 30 dead bodies and were told by Libyan officials that the rest of the people killed in the air strike had been taken to other hospitals, an allegation that could not be verified independently.

Hitting back at the accusations however, a NATO military spokesperson said the target of the strikes was a military area that was being used to support government attacks on civilians.

Libyan officials said Tuesday that dozens of civilians had been killed in a NATO strike on a cluster of farmhouses east of the capital, Tripoli, but the alliance said it had hit a legitimate military target.

"This was a legitimate target," said the spokesman, Col. Roland Lavoie.

Both NATO and the Gadhafi government seemed to be embroiled in a war of words, with each camp accusing one another of repeatedly killing civilians. While the Alliance defended its action, it did not say whether or not people were killed as a result of the strike. Independent of whether the dead bodies shown to the reporters were killed by a NATO strike, the rebels or the Gadhafi forces, civilians casualties have been reported throughout the conflict and all three camps have been accused of being responsible for attacks on civilians.