Gaddafi HQ hit by Bri­tish bar­rage

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

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.’’

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