NATO Continues Strikes on Gaddafi's Compound In Tripoli
The Libyan government said three people died in the attack, all of whom were working on a documentary film about Gaddafi's supporters perched outside the compound as human shields. At least 27 others were reported wounded by other media sources as NATO increased pressure on the Libyan leader to stop his violence against rebel forces outside of Misurata and Brega.
From the Wall Street Journal:
The assault accompanied military and diplomatic advances by rebels in their battle to end the colonel's four decades of rule. On Wednesday, rebel forces captured the airport and large sectors of territory around Misrata, a city in western Libya that has been encircled by government troops, according to residents and rebel officials.
On the diplomatic front, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the rebels' Benghazi-based administration, the Transitional National Council, met with British officials including Prime Minister David Cameron in London Thursday, ahead of a planned visit by rebel leaders to the White House Friday. Libyan rebel officials will meet with White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, senior administration officials and members of Congress, the White House said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the U.K. plans to send Libyan rebels more communications equipment, bulletproof vests and uniforms for civilian police authorities. The U.K. also invited the rebel group to open a mission in the country, which has the largest Libyan community outside of Libya.
NATO began striking sites in Tripoli earlier in the week, and has since leveled several compounds across the city.
Friday morning, the Libyan government offered controlled tours to reporters of the battered compounds. Officials tried to paint a picture of western "barbarity" towards Libya and its citizens.
The New York Times reported:
NATO, Libyan officials said, had dropped one of three bombs that struck the compound in the early hours of Thursday within 150 feet of a children’s playground in a parkland corner of the sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound. Two other bombs, they said, had fallen randomly deeper into the compound, damaging roadways and administrative buildings of no military significance.
As if to make the point more starkly, reporters arrived at the playground site to find children swirling about enthusiastically on a fairground carousel no more than a stone’s throw from the main crater left by the bomb. Some of the children were waving portraits of Colonel Qaddafi.
Not more than 100 yards away, reporters were led past a tented camp for refugees, including men, women and children from sub-Saharan Africa, many of them gathered, with the encouragement of accompanying government minders, to chant the praises of Colonel Qaddafi as a background chorus to the reporters’ visit.
However, the NATO airstrikes have seemed to accomplish their mission as rebel forces have continued to gain ground in both the west and the east. Overnight on Wednesday, Libyan rebels said they took control of Misrata's airport from Gaddafi's forces, a step in taking back the Western city.