NATO hits Gaddafi compound, rebels seek aid

May 13, 2011

By Joseph Logan

TRIPOLI, May 12 (Reuters) – NATO bombed Muammar Gaddafi’s compound on Thursday, hours after the Libyan leader ended doubt about his fate by making his first television appearance since another air strike killed his son nearly two weeks ago.

The leader of the rebels seeking to end Gaddafi’s 41-year rule visited London to drum up aid for his movement. The White House said a senior rebel delegation would be received for the first time in Washington on Friday.

Rebels fighting against Gaddafi for almost three months are in control of the east of the country, while Gaddafi’s forces control the capital Tripoli and nearly all of the west.

NATO-led forces are bombing Libya under a U.N. resolution authorising them to protect civilians. The United States, Britain and France say they will not stop their air campaign until Gaddafi leaves power.

They have hit targets within Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound several times during the conflict, but deny they are targeting the leader himself.

Libyan officials showed reporters around the scene of Thursday’s overnight air strike on the compound. They said three people had been killed and 25 wounded.

The corner of a two-storey building was blown away, leaving fragments of concrete on the street below. Deep craters were left in two other locations around the compound.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said the strikes hit near a spot where dozens of Libyans come every night, some with families, to shout slogans in support of Gaddafi.

He denied the compound contained any military facilities, and pointed to a small park near one of the craters where children were playing on a carousel.

“The NATO alliance is completely bereft of morality,” Ibrahim said. “No one has the right to say to the people of Libya move away from the cities so we can bombard you.”

An official at NATO headquarters said the target it hit was a large command and control bunker complex.

“These locations were known to be command and control facilities engaged in coordinating attacks against civilian populations in Libya,” said the official.

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