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Africa

Missile strikes Kadhafi compound in Tripoli

media Libyan army soldiers stand on a building, destroyed in what the government said was a western missile attack, inside Kadhafi's Bab Al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli, 21 March 2011 Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

A missile strike on Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s compound in Tripoli Sunday night has destroyed what Western officials called a military command and control centre.

Kadhafi’s regime invited journalists to visit the site of the attack on the Bab al-Aziziya compound early Monday morning but it was not clear if there where any casualties.

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

US officials have denied that Kadhafi is himself a target of the airstrikes, saying that they are aimed at his armed forces and defence systems.

Coalition forces from France, the United States and the United Kingdom began striking the regime’s military assets on Saturday as part of a UN-mandated effort to protect Libyan civilians.

Kadhafi’s regime had declared a ceasefire on Friday after UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorised any necessary measures, including a no-fly zone, to stop his forces harming civilians in the fight against anti-government forces.

But his troops continued attacking the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Kadhafi’s army announced a new ceasefire Sunday, saying it was heeding an African Union call for an immediate end to hostilities, but the US accused Tripoli of lying, or breaching the ceasefire immediately.

The strikes on Libya have drawn criticism from the head of the Arab League, who had supported the idea of a no-fly zone but questioned the need for heavy bombardment.

“What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” Secretary General Amr Moussa said.

Meanwhile, the coalition forces working to enforce the no-fly zone are increasing.

Qatar is to send four planes to join the alliance. The move will make Qatar the first Arab country to play an active part in the campaign against Kadhafi, who has been battling a month-long revolt.

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