Gaddafi directly targeted in strikes
Published 11/05/2011 | 05:00
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his armed forces have been directly targeted in a series of precision strikes in Tripoli and the key city of Misurata as concerns grow that the regime is attempting to swamp Europe with refugees.
The new phase of highly accurate attacks, shown in photographs released by the Ministry of Defence yesterday, was launched as an increasingly desperate refugee crisis resulted in thousands from Libya fleeing for Europe in just a few days.
In a sign that the regime is trying to force a refugee crisis as a weapon against its Nato enemies, almost 1,900 people from Libya arrived in five boats on the Italian islands of Lampedusa and Linosa last weekend alone. Another vessel sank -- bringing the total lost to four boats. Hundreds of bodies are now washing ashore along the Libyan coast.
Some of the refugees said they were forced on to the boats by Libyan troops and police.
"The flow of migrants from Libya to Italy has undeniably accelerated very recently," said the International Organisation for Migration spokesman, Jean Philippe Chauzy.
"A total of 12,360 people on 35 vessels have arrived in Lampedusa and Malta from Libya."
Nato forces yesterday carried out some of their heaviest strikes on the capital, Tripoli, for weeks, attacking targets said to include part of Gaddafi's leadership compound.
A hospital next to one of the targets, said by the Libyans to be a "government administrative complex" but claimed by Nato as an intelligence building, was slightly damaged in the raids.
Aerial footage of the action in Misurata showed two bombs targeted the third floor of a four-storey building where Gaddafi loyalists were directing heavy machinegun, artillery and rocket fire on to the port as humanitarian aid ships were unloading supplies. The strike was made as Nato announced that rebel forces had taken control over much of Misurata. (© Daily Telegraph, London)