Gaddafi HQ hit by British barrage
STRIKE FORCE: A UN-sanctioned bomber flies reconnaissance above Libya as the bombing of specified targets continues A MISSILE strike from a British submarine hit Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, as the embattled leader’s forces reportedly clashed yesterday with rebels as they pulled back from the opposition capital Benghazi.
Libyan government forces pulled back 100km from Benghazi to the strategic junction town of Ajdabiya but showed no sign of giving in.
Gaddafi forces sent rebels who followed up the withdrawal and were massed in their hundred soutside Ajdabiya fleeing in disarray when they opened up from the town with shell fire from their artillery and remaining tanks.
The rebels had begun advancing from positions several miles from Ajdabiya, possibly encouraged by the sound of warplanes overhead, though no aircraft could be seen.
Gaddafi’s forces captured Ajdabiya last week on their drive eastward against the month-ol d uprising and launched a fierce attack on Benghazi.
But they were halted as French air force fighters in particular strafed them for hours, soon after UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorised all necessary measures to prevent harm to civilians.
Abdel Hafi z Ghoga, a spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council, said more than 8000 rebels were killed since fighting began last month.
Meanwhile, an administrative building in Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound was partially destroyed in a missile attack, leaving just debris, missile parts, and the acrid stink of chemicals.
Two missiles were fired at the compound from British submarines, according to a senior coalition source.
The source said the UK’s defence ministry ( MoD) indicated the target had military significance, but the strike was not targeting Gaddafi personally, in line with British and US policy.
However, Britain has not ruled out strikes on Gaddafi if he attacks civilians.
Television pictures of the compound showed Libyan soldiers standing in front of piles of rubble.
Libyan spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told journalists, who were taken to the site by bus, that the building was hit by a missile.
‘ ‘ This was a barbaric bombing which could have hit hundreds of civilians gathered at the residence of Muammar Gaddafi about 400m away,’’ he claimed.
He denounced the ‘‘ contradictions in Western discourses,’’ saying: ‘‘ Western countries say they want to protect civilians while they bomb the residence knowing there are civilians inside.’’