NATO increased its bombing operations against Tripoli on Tuesday, carrying out the largest attacks in weeks as rebels appeared to make advances in their efforts to break the siege of the key western city of Misurata.
The attacks on Tripoli occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Jets could be heard booming over the city. Several large explosions followed, and NATO said its warplanes hit three ”œcommand-and-control” targets in the capital. NATO said its airstrikes also hit targets in Mizdah, a town 114 miles south of Tripoli; Sirte, a stronghold of Moammar Gaddafi on the Gulf of Sidra; and Misurata, a port 131 miles east of Tripoli and the only rebel-held city in the western part of the country.
The Libyan government took journalists to a hospital in central Tripoli that was next door to a government office building apparently hit by the attacks. Residents and workers there said the building was either a communications or intelligence center, although a government minder said it was currently used by the Agriculture Ministry.
”œWe are diminishing Gaddafi’s capacity to issue orders, to field troops and to fly regime jets,” Italian Brig. Gen. Claudio Gabellini, the chief operations officer of the NATO campaign, said in a news conference in Naples on Tuesday.