A STRING of blasts shook windows across central Tripoli in the early hours of yesterday, sending plumes of black smoke high into the sky.
A series of secondary explosions suggested fuel tanks had exploded, which would chime with claims by Nato that its jets had struck a storage facility for military vehicles.
Moussa Ibrahim, the Libyan government spokesman, said that the base was used for a reserve force of the People's Army, but had been evacuated because of the likelihood that it would be a target.
He claimed that three dead men and most of the 150 injured were civilians from the surrounding neighbourhood.
NATO is continuing to use air power to try to shake the Gaddafi regime, after its initial objective of preventing its further advance into rebel-held territory in the east of the country, the port city of Misrata and an enclave in western Libya succeeded.
On Monday, it revealed that it was intending to send British Apache and French Tiger attack helicopters to take the fight to Libyan ground forces.
The bombing overnight sent 15 sharp blasts across the city centre from the area around the Bab al-Aziziya government compound. They were followed by bursts of anti-aircraft fire, and then a drive-past of cars honking horns to show their support for the regime.
Officials took western journalists to Tripoli Central Hospital, where a dozen of the injured -- all young men -- were being treated for minor injuries.
They were also shown the bodies of the three dead men, all horribly disfigured by blast wounds to their heads.
A NATO statement claimed that the base had been supplying vehicles involved in "conducting attacks on civilians". (© Daily Telegraph, London)