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NATO denies targeting Gadhafi in airstrikes

NATO missiles have hit a number of sites in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound was reportedly among the targets, but the organization denies targeting Gadhafi directly with the strikes.

banner with gadhafi

Opposition to Gadhafi continues in full force in Libya

NATO on Tuesday launched a series of missile strikes, bombarding the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The precise targets of the strike were unknown, but witnesses suggested that missiles were aimed at Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound.

"The direction of at least one blast suggests Gadhafi's compound has been targeted," one witness told Reuters.

NATO, however, has denied that the raids were aimed at killing Gadhafi, who has not appeared in public since April 30. NATO Brigadier General Claudio Gabellini said Tuesday all targets were military targets.

"NATO is not targeting individuals," Gabellini told reporters via videoconference from the operation's headquarters in Naples, Italy.

Foreign journalists were shown a Tripoli hospital where windows had been shattered on Tuesday morning. They were also shown the remains of a government building, formerly the home of the Libyan High Commission for Children, which officials said was destroyed in a previous NATO airstrike on April 30.

NATO has been carrying out airstrikes in Libya since March. The operation is meant to enforce a UN mandate to protect Libyan civilians from Gadhafi's forces.

Arms depot hit

An ambulance

Four children were injured during airstrikes on Tuesday

On Monday, rebels said a government arms depot 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Zintan, a town in the Western Mountains, was bombed four times by the Western military alliance.

"The site has some 72 underground hangars made of reinforced concrete. We don't know how many were destroyed. But each time the aircraft struck we heard multiple explosions," a spokesman for the rebels told Reuters.

Another spokesman said the planes also struck around Tamina and Chantine, east of the rebel-held city Misrata.

Battle rages in Misrata

Meanwhile, clashes have continued in Misrata, the only remaining rebel-controlled city in eastern Libya. Rebels said Tuesday they had forced back troops loyal to Gadhafi from areas on the edge of the city.

Hundreds have been killed in the region during weeks of fierce fighting between rebels and Gadhafi's forces.

In response, the United Nations' senior aid official on Monday called for an end to the fighting in Misrata. Valerie Amos told a meeting of the Security Council in New York that a pause in hostilities would allow aid agencies to deliver relief supplies and evacuate foreign nationals, as well as the sick and wounded.

More than 750,000 people are thought to have fled Libya since fighting broke out in February.

Authors: Sabina Casagrande, Charlotte Chelsom-Pill (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Editor: Martin Kuebler

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