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NATO MISSILES HIT GADHAFI'S COMPLEX

TRIPOLI, Libya - NATO missiles struck Moammar Gadhafi's compound early Thursday, government officials said, hours after the longtime leader appeared on state television to dispel rumors that he had died. The attacks continued a major escalation of strikes on sites that NATO describes as "command-and-control targets" but that the Libyan government says are possible locations for Gadhafi.

NATO said in a statement on Thursday that it had struck a bunker complex "that was used to coordinate attacks against civilian populations." Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the facility was a sewage treatment plant. The strikes were close to the ruins of the building hit by U.S. airstrikes in 1986 and preserved by Gadhafi as a monument.

Ibrahim said three people died in the attack on the sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, and 27 were injured.

In Rome, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he expects the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Gadhafi at the end of the month. Frattini said that would be a key moment in the Libya crisis, suggesting that after the warrant is issued it would be impossible for Gadhafi to agree to an exile. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to refer the Libyan crisis to the International Criminal Court.

Meanwhile, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of Libya's opposition National Transitional Council, said Gadhafi is a legitimate target for rebel and NATO forces, but insisted his preference would be for the despot to be tried.

Jalil held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and other senior officials on his first visit to London since Britain joined the NATO-led airstrikes against Gadhafi's regime.

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Syria

Syrian soldiers rolled into restive cities Thursday in tanks and set up sand barriers topped with machine guns as President Bashar Assad's deadly crackdown on dissent pulled the country deeper into international isolation. Protests organizers called for more demonstrations today despite military operations and arrest raids meant to pre-empt the rallies. "Authorities are detaining any person who might demonstrate," Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told the Associated Press.

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Yemen

Yemeni police trying to disperse thousands of antigovernment protesters in two cities Thursday killed two and wounded at least 47, some by gunfire, according to witnesses. Gunmen fired at protesters in the central city of Bayda from the roof of a building belonging to the ruling party, killing two people and injuring seven, activist Ghazi al-Amiri said.

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Egypt

Egypt's government said deposed President Hosni Mubarak has been questioned several times over suspicions he and his wife illegally amassed vast wealth. His wife, Suzanne, was interrogated for the first time. Mubarak, who denies the allegations, also faces charges over deaths of protesters during the uprising that toppled him.

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Gadhafi foes to visit White House

Libyan opposition leaders will meet U.S. officials today as the Obama administration steps up its engagement with forces fighting Moammar Gadhafi. The White House said Mahmoud Jibril, a representative of the Libyan Transitional National Council, would meet with senior administration officials, including national security adviser Tom Donilon, as well as members of Congress. There were no plans for President Barack Obama to meet the Libyans. France and Italy have recognized the council as Libya's legitimate government.

Associated Press

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