'NATO strikes in Libya target Gaddafi compound'

Gaddafi hasn't appeared publicly since an airstrike killed his son last month; Libya says 4 children wounded in bombings of Tripoli.

By REUTERS
May 10, 2011 17:12
1 minute read.
A Libyan building damaged from NATO airstrikes

A Libyan building damaged from NATO airstrikes 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Louafi Larbi)

 
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TRIPOLI - NATO carried out missile strikes on targets in the Tripoli area on Tuesday that appeared to include Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's compound, witnesses said.

Gaddafi has not appeared publicly since April 30 when a NATO air strike on a house in the capital killed his youngest son and three of his grandchildren, raising questions among some Arab diplomats anxious to know why he has remained out of sight.

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Libyan officials said NATO airstrikes in the Tripoli area overnight wounded four children and two of them were seriously hurt by flying glass caused by blasts.

Officials showed foreign journalists a hospital in the capital where some windows were shattered apparently by blast waves from a NATO strike that toppled a nearby telecommunications tower.

The journalists were also taken to a government building housing the high commission for children that had been completely destroyed. The old colonial building was damaged before in what officials said was a NATO bombing on April 30.

"The direction of at least one blast suggests Gaddafi's compound has been targeted," said one witness.

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No other information was immediately available. But the Tripoli blasts occurred against a backdrop of deadlock in an insurgency that aims to end Gaddafi's 41 years in power and a resulting dilemma for Western powers over whether to offer covert aid to the rebels.

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turmoil in the Middle East

Allies including the United States, Britain and France face a choice over whether to exploit loopholes in the sanctions regime they engineered in February and March to help the rebels, analysts and UN diplomats said.

Another option would be to circumvent the sanctions secretly but both courses risk angering Russia and China. They wield UN Security Council vetoes and are increasingly critical of NATO's operations under a resolution aimed at protecting civilians.

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