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Strike on Gadhafi compound badly damages buildings

TRIPOLI, Libya — NATO airstrikes targeted the center of Moammar Gadhafi's seat of power early today, destroying a multistory library and office, and badly damaging a reception hall for visiting dignitaries.

Gadhafi's whereabouts at the time of the attack on his sprawling Bab al-Azizya compound were unclear. A security official said four people were lightly hurt.

Early in the campaign of airstrikes against Gadhafi, a cruise missile blasted an administration building in Bab al-Azizya last month, knocking down half of the three-story building. The compound was also targeted in a U.S. bombing in April 1986, after Washington held Libya responsible for a blast at a Berlin disco that killed two U.S. servicemen.

At least two missiles struck Bab al-Azizya early today, and the booms could be heard miles away.

A multistory building that guards said served as Gadhafi's library and office was turned into a pile of twisted metal and broken concrete slabs. A second building, where Gadhafi received visiting dignitaries, had blast damage.

In Washington on Sunday, three members of the Senate Armed Services Committee said that more should be done to drive Gadhafi out of power, including targeting his inner circle with airstrikes. Gadhafi "needs to wake up every day wondering, 'Will this be my last?' " Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CNN's State of the Union.

Today's attack came a day after Gadhafi's forces unleashed a barrage of shells and rockets at the western city of Misrata in a bloody weekend that left at least 32 dead and dozens wounded.

The battle for Misrata, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past two months, has become the focal point of Libya's armed rebellion against Gadhafi since fighting elsewhere is deadlocked.

Photographer calls

The parents of a Spanish photojournalist held in Libya, Manuel Varela de Seijas Brabo, said Sunday they received a phone call from him in which he said he was well but in a Tripoli jail. He is one of four journalists seized by pro-Gadhafi forces April 5

near Brega. The others are GlobalPost correspondent James Foley, freelance reporter Clare Morgana Gillis — both Americans — and South African photographer Anton Hammerl.

Strike on Gadhafi compound badly damages buildings 04/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2011 1:04am]
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