Paris/Cairo/Tripoli: Coalition air strikes continued against Libya Monday, with a senior
British official saying Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was not the target.
A missile reportedly hit the Libyan leader's residential compound in
Tripoli, with opposition sources reporting explosions followed by
smoke rising from the area of Bab al-Aziziya, a Gaddafi stronghold.
Libyan government officials said there were no casualties from the
compound bombing. Gaddafi's whereabouts were not known.
But one of Gaddafi's sons, Khamis, was reportedly injured in an
attack on Bab al-Aziziya compound, with some opposition groups
claiming he died of burn wounds sustained during the attack.
Libyan opposition forces said Gaddafi's forces killed people in the
third largest city of Misurata Monday, despite nearly three days of
aimed at curbing his ability to attack civilians.
Broadcaster Al Arabiya said at least nine people had been killed in
Misurata, located to the east of the capital.
The Libyan Youth Movement said the death toll in Misurata from
Monday's attacks was in "double digits", but did not give a precise
Britain's chief of defence staff, David Richards, said Gaddafi was
"absolutely not" a target of British forces and that the mission was
exclusively to protect civilians.
Meanwhile, the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition (NCLO)
said Gaddafi's forces shelled the city of Alzentan, about 160 km
southwest of Tripoli. The government loyalists used tanks and
missiles, destroying residential buildings, said the NCLO.
Additionally, four broadcast journalists, two photographers and a
wire service reporter are missing in the Libyan conflict. This after
four US journalists working for The New York Times were freed Monday
after being held for nearly a week.
Earlier this month, an Al Jazeera cameraman was shot just outside
the rebel-held city of Benghazi in what the opposition said was an
attack by Gaddafi loyalists.
Gaddafi had earlier called on his supporters to launch a peaceful
march on Benghazi, the largest city controlled by rebels seeking to
unseat him, state media Jana reported early Monday.
There was no confirmation that the so-called "green march" took
place. Phone lines to Benghazi were not working Monday.
Despite continued reports of civilian deaths in northern Libya, a
French government spokesman said Monday that the French strikes,
which are part of Operation Odyssey Dawn to implement UN resolution
1973 for a no-fly zone, had "stopped Gaddafi in the development of
French fighter jets and US and British ships began bombing Libyan
military targets Saturday evening.
Spain, Belgium and Canada have contributed fighter jets and other
weapons to the Libyan mission, while Italian and Danish fighter jets
have also been participating in enforcing the no-fly zone.
The Qatari air force will be participating in the enforcement of the
UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya, Qatari media reported Monday.
This would make the Gulf state the first Arab country to actively
participate in the mission.
But Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described the operation on
Libya as a "crusade", although he was later censured for the remark
by President Dmitry Medvedev.
"This absolutely reminds me of a medieval call to crusade, where
somebody goads others to march into a certain area and free it,"
The degree of nonchalance at the international level about launching
hostilities upon a sovereign state is unsettling, said Putin.