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International prosecutors seek arrest of Gadhafi

TRIPOLI, Libya — Airstrikes and arrest warrants put negotiations in Libya ever further out of reach on Monday, as massive explosions rocked Moammar Gadhafi's compound just hours after international prosecutors said that he, one of his sons and his intelligence chief have committed crimes against humanity.

The bombs that thundered across Tripoli on Monday evening reflected NATO's resolve to strike targets closer to the Libyan leader himself. The legal accusations narrowed the range of figures inside the Libyan government who could credibly make a deal with the forces that oppose Gadhafi, analysts said.

George Joffe, a Libya expert and research fellow at Cambridge University, said that either NATO bombing or an internal coup was most likely to end Gadhafi's rule, not negotiation. "There is a growing sense in his entourage that they're in an impasse," Joffe said.

Prosecutors in The Hague, Netherlands, said Monday that they have collected enough evidence to request arrest warrants for Gadhafi; his British-educated son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi; and his intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi.

But an arrest warrant may have little immediate effect on Gadhafi's movements or power. The prosecutors' announcement came a day after Britain's top military commander called for NATO to expand its military campaign to prevent a stalemate. Gen. David Richards told the Sunday Telegraph that he wants to increase the range of targets NATO can hit.

That threat seemed to unsettle Libya's government. It announced Monday that the country's telecommunications workers and their families — 45,000 men, women and children in all — have volunteered to serve as human shields to protect key infrastructure from bombings. It was impossible to verify the claim.

Rebels claim a key advance

Rebel forces inside Libya's third-biggest city say they have driven Moammar Gadhafi's forces from another key point on the outskirts of Misrata. A video dated Sunday showed more than 200 SUVs and rebel vehicles at the southeastern gate into Misrata, the main opposition stronghold in western Libya. That would give the rebels tighter control of the access points into the city.

International prosecutors seek arrest of Gadhafi 05/17/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 12:26am]

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