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    Monday, 25 April 2011

    Libyan state TV: Gadhafi compound hit by airstrikes

    By manojpilibhit 
     Libya  -- The sounds of loud explosions and jets pierced through the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Monday as state-run TV reported that airstrikes flattened a building at Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound.
    The airstrikes appeared to be some of the heaviest attacks by NATO in the last few weeks as the deadly fighting in Libya rages on.
    Libyan state TV said military and civilian casualties resulted from the strike on the Bab el-Azizia compound.
    A banner on Libyan state television cited a military source saying that the "crusaders' airstrikes" were targeting both civilian and military targets, resulting in casualties and damage.
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    It was unclear where Libya's longtime ruler was on Monday.
    Meanwhile, despite reports that Gadhafi's forces have withdrawn from the war-torn port city of Misrata, reports of casualties there continue to mount.
    Misrata is the scene of some of the deadliest battles of the war as rebels attempt to oust Gadhafi, who has been in power for 42 years.
    At least 36 people were killed there on Sunday, rebel spokesman Col. Ahmad Bani told CNN Monday.
    Bani says at least one Gadhafi brigade duped a group of opposition fighters on Sunday by raising the rebel flag, then opening fire when the rebels cheered and approached.
    "They were happy to see them and they were clapping, and that's when the Gadhafi brigade started shooting," Bani said.
    Bani said rebel commanders are warning opposition forces to look out for similar tactics by the Gadhafi forces.
    Bani said Gadhafi forces shelled parts of Misrata Monday morning from its western and southern outskirts.
    A resident of Misrata who asked to be identified only as Mohammed, told CNN Monday that there are no Gadhafi forces in the city, but that the Libyan leader's forces are firing shells and mortars into the city.
    Six people were killed in the very early morning hours, he said.
    The port area is safe and seems to be out of the reach of Gadhafi's artillery, Mohammed said.
    A doctor at a hospital in Misrata earlier put the number of dead Sunday at 16, with 71 wounded.
    An eyewitness said pro-Gadhafi forces randomly and extensively shelled Misrata on Sunday. The witness asked that his name not be used because of fears for his security.
    The witness said there were explosions "every five minutes."
    Hundreds have been killed in the battle for Misrata, under a bloody siege from Gadhafi's forces for seven weeks.
    The doctor, who also asked that his name not be used because of fears for his safety, said NATO fighter jets began hitting targets in Misrata early Monday.
    The witness said he feels safe every time he hears the NATO jets overhead, because whenever they're not present, pro-Gadhafi forces shell the city.
    NATO is leading an international military operation in Liyba that includes airstrikes targeting Gadhafi's military resources. It is operating under a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to protect civilians.
    On Monday, NATO issued a statement saying 1,550 strike sorties have been conducted in the Libya.
    Last week, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Khaim said Gadhafi's military was withdrawing from Misrata and that tribal leaders would deal with the rebels.
    After reports of more deaths in Misrata, a Libyan government spokesman explained Sunday that the army came under rebel attack as it withdrew from Misrata, and the army simply fought back as it continued withdrawing.
    "Our army will always attack back if it is attacked," said the spokesman, Musa Ibrahim. "We cannot just ask them to die and not fight back."
    Ibrahim said tribal chiefs were moving to Misrata's outskirts and negotiating peace with the rebels and city inhabitants, but an opposition leader denied those claims Sunday.
    "There are no tribes and there are no negotiations. It's only Libyan people fighting against Gadhafi's forces," said Col. Ahmad Bani, a rebel military spokesman.
    The rebels, under the umbrella of the Transitional National Council, received a pledge Sunday from Kuwait for about $180 million. The announcement came during council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil's visit to Kuwait, Kuwaiti state-run television reported.
    Ibrahim responded to that report by questioning why Kuwait was seeking to help one side rather than seeking to resolve the conflict.
    "We know that some countries are not interested in Libyan peace, democracy, and the future of this country," Ibrahim said. "Why is it that some governments jump on the opportunity to make the Libyan crisis even worse ... instead of helping all parties establish peace?



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