Smoke seen rising from Italian embassy in Tripoli

Gaddafi forces fire artillery into Tunisia, rebel-held town of Zintan; United Nations pulls staff out Libyan capital; protests outside US embassy.

May 1, 2011 17:05
2 minute read.
Tunisian soldiers survey damage from Libyan troops

Tunisian soldiers survey damage from Libyan troops 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Zoubei Souissi)


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A day after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son was killed in a NATO airstrike that targeted the strongman's compound, reports surfaced of attacks on Western embassies in Tripoli and renewed fighting broke out across the country.

Witnesses told Reuters that smoke was rising from the Italian embassy building in the Libyan capital Sunday afternoon. The UK said it was investigating reports that its own mission in Tripoli had been destroyed, the BBC reported, and protests were said to be taking place outside the US embassy.

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United Nations buildings were also targeted by angry crowds on Sunday, prompting the international body to announce it is pulling all of its international staff out of Tripoli, according to the BBC.

The fighting that has spread across Libya for weeks also took a deadly turn on Sunday and threatened to spread beyond its borders.

Forces loyal to Gaddafi are trying to advance on the rebel-held town of Zintan, southwest of the capital, and are bombarding it with rockets, a rebel spokesman said on Sunday.

"The military is now trying to advance from the east. They have been randomly bombarding the town with Grad (rockets) and mortars since the early hours of this morning," the spokesman, called Abdulrahman, told Reuters by telephone from Zintan.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East

"There is also fighting in the al-Rayayna area (to the east of Zintan). We have been fighting them there since this morning.

Following an incursion into Tunisia by Gaddafi forces on Friday, during which several civilians and pro-Gaddafi forces were killed before retreating across the border, Libyan forces fired artillery shells into Tunisa once again on Sunday.

Artillery fire from forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi landed in the Tunisian border town of Dehiba, a Reuters correspondent in the town said.

The correspondent said most of the shells landed in the outskirts of the town, where there are only a few houses. There were no reports of any casualties. Pro-Gaddafi forces have been fighting rebels on the Libyan side of the border.

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