25 Apr 2011

NATO air strike hits Gaddafi compound

3:37 pm on 25 April 2011

A NATO air strike on the Libyan capital Tripoli has badly damaged buildings in Muammar Gaddafi's compound, witnesses say.

A government press official says it was an attempt on the Libyan leader's life.

Reports say at least two powerful missiles struck the Bab al-Azizia compound on Monday.

The press official says 45 people were hurt in the strike, 15 seriously, and some were still missing.

That could not be independently confirmed, the BBC reports.

Libyan Television, Jamahiriya and Shababiya stations were off air for about half an hour following the explosions.

Colonel Gaddafi's compound has been struck before, but NATO forces appear to be stepping up the pace of strikes in Tripoli in recent days.

A target nearby, which the government called a car park but which appeared to cover a bunker, was hit two days ago.

NATO says it has carried out more than 3000 sorties since assuming control of the United Nations-sanctioned mission to protect civilians in Libya.

More gunfire reported in Misrata

There are reports of explosions and gunfire in the city of Misrata, despite an announcement that the army had halted operations.

Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim says the army has stopped fighting to give tribal leaders an opportunity to negotiate with rebels.

On Saturday, he said the tribes around Misrata had given the army an ultimatum that if it could not defeat the rebels, their fighters would.

But government troops have not withdrawn from the port which has been under siege for weeks by forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi.

A revolt against Colonel Gaddafi - inspired by similar uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia - began in February.

Meanwhile, a ship has docked in Benghazi bringing 900 evacuees, most of them from Misrata.

Between 2000 and 3000 people are still in the port of Misrata, awaiting evacuation, according to an International Committee of the Red Cross official.