by editor | 10th May 2011 6:19 am
Witnesses say NATO pounded Libyan leader’s residence and state television offices in capital, Tripoli
A hospital building in Tripoli which the Libyan government said was damaged in NATO strikes [Reuters]
A number of blasts have been heard from apparent NATO missile strikes targeting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in the capital, Tripoli, witnesses have said.
They said jets carried out eight strikes in roughly three hours in an unusually heavy bombardment of Tripoli, with four explosions rocking the Libyan capital shortly after 2am [0000 GMT] on Tuesday.
They were quickly followed by two more blasts.
A resident told Al Jazeera that an intelligence agency was also targeted by the strikes.Late on Monday, witnesses reported two explosions in the capital as jets flew overhead, adding that smoke was rising from a site near the offices of Libyan television and state news agency JANA.
Libyan officials said on Tuesday four children were wounded by flying glass caused by blasts from NATO strikes in the Tripoli area overnight.
“Two of the children were seriously hurt and are in intensive care in hospital,” said one official.
Officials took foreign journalists twice to Tripoli’s Dahmani neighbourhood to see what they said were the results of NATO strikes.
On the first visit, journalists saw a government building housing the high commission for children that had been completely destroyed. The old colonial building had been damaged before in what officials said was a NATO strike on April 30.
The roof of part of the building was blown away along with one wall, and the basement was visible through the destroyed floor.
A guard at the site said the building was hit around 11pm (2100 GMT) on Monday. There were no reports of casualties in those strikes.
The blasts came after Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO chief, said time was running out for Gaddafi, who “should realise sooner rather than later that there’s no future for him or his regime”.
An international coalition began carrying out strikes on pro-Gaddafi forces on March 19, under a UN resolution to protect civilians. NATO took command of operations over Libya on March 31.
The Libyan regime said on May 1 that Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, one of the Libyan leader’s sons, and three of his grandchildren were killed in a NATO air strike on a compound in Tripoli.
On Monday, rebels said NATO bombed government arms depots four times during the day about 30 km southeast of Zintan, a town in the Western Mountains region where conflict is escalating.
Another rebel spokesman said the planes also struck around Tamina and Chantine, east of Misurata, where besieged rebels are clinging on in the last city they control in western Libya.
Gaddafi’s forces have launched a ferocious assault on Misurata and hundreds have been killed in weeks of fighting.
The opposition newspaper Brnieq said on Tuesday that Libyan rebels were leading an uprising in the suburbs of Tripoli after being supplied with light weapons by defecting security service officers.
However, the report on the newspaper’s website could not be independently verified
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