West bombs Gaddafi compound in Tripoli

A coalition airstrike against an administrative building in a compound including Muammar Gaddafi's residence in Tripoli destroyed the Libyan leader’s “command and control capability".

West bombs Gaddafi compound in Tripoli

A coalition airstrike against an administrative building in a compound including Muammar Gaddafi's residence in Tripoli destroyed the Libyan leader's "command and control capability".

The building, which was about 50 meters (165 feet) from the tent where Gaddafi generally meets guests, was flattened.

French, American and British forces have launched the biggest intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, firing more than 120 Tomahawk Cruise missiles and conducting bombing raids on key Libyan targets.

Officials accused Western powers of trying to assassinate Gaddafi.

"It was a barbaric bombing," said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, showing pieces of shrapnel that he said came from the missile. "This contradicts American and Western (statements) ... that it is not their target to attack this place."

Ibrahim said no one had been hurt in the attack. He declined to say whether Gaddafi was still inside the compound.

The United States says it does not have Gaddafi on its target list as Western nations intensify military action on Libya, where the veteran leader has been battling for a month to crush an uprising against his rule.

Nearby, crowds of Gaddafi loyalists, allowed into the compound as a human shield against possible air strikes, shouted anti-Western slogans including "Obama should be slaughtered".

Behind the compound's thick security barriers, a soldier operating an anti-aircraft gun mounted on a pick-up truck was watching the sky intently.

Rounds of anti-aircraft gunfire boomed out late into the night over Tripoli. Flag-waving supporters jeered as tracer rounds lit up a clear, star-studded sky like fireworks.

Troops and militiamen massed along the compound's massive green wall, some dancing and showing v-for-victory signs.

A crowd of people danced to patriotic songs blaring from loudspeakers outside a house ruined in a 1986 bombing of the compound by U.S. fighter jets -- a symbolic site of anti-Western defiance for Gaddafi supporters.

Some, including women holding babies, sat on mattresses scattered on the grass and prepared to camp out overnight. One of the children was holding a toy rifle with a flashing barrel.

Many said they were ready to die for Gaddafi.

"I love Gaddafi. He is our father. I'll die for him," said Muatas, a 45-year-old engineer, as he waved the green flag of Gaddafi's Libya. "I am not afraid, even if a rocket falls from the sky right now."

Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Mart 2011, 10:32
Add Comment