Embassies attacked in revenge for deaths
Published 02/05/2011 | 05:00
THE British and Italian embassies in Tripoli and offices of the United Nations were under targeted attack from pro-Gaddafi forces yesterday after an allied airstrike killed the Libyan leader's youngest son, Saif al-Arab, and three grandchildren.
Crowds in Tripoli yesterday assaulted the two embassies, according to government officials in London and Rome.
The UN decided to withdraw all its international staff from the Libyan capital, the BBC reported.
"The Vienna Convention requires the Gaddafi regime to protect diplomatic missions in Tripoli," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an emailed statement. Libya's ambassador to London was being expelled in response, Mr Hague said.
"That regime has once again breached its international responsibilities and obligations," he said.
Russia last night criticised NATO, calling the airstrikes disproportionate use of force that exceeded the UN mandate in Libya.
Much of the fighting in Libya is now centred on the rebel-held western port city of Misrata, where opposition forces last week pushed Gaddafi loyalists out of the city centre. Gaddafi's troops are shelling civilian areas in the city and attempted to mine part of the harbour, according to NATO.
The military alliance yesterday rejected a ceasefire offer from Gaddafi, saying his forces must stop their attacks on civilians before it considered any truce.
Gaddafi (69) said he would stay in the north African nation where his people wanted "martyrdom or victory" in the face of a rebel insurgency that began in mid-February.