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NATO bombs Tripoli sites; rebels claim successes
In the besieged port city of Misrata, the rebel’s only urban stronghold in the west, a doctor said rebel forces had pushed outward to Dafniya, a town on the western outskirts.
The doctor, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, said fighting was taking place both in Dafniya and near the airport south of Misrata. Were the rebels able to punch through past Dafniya, the prospects of a further advance through the coastal town of Zlitan and toward Tripoli itself would increase.
The rebels posted video clips calling on Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces in the area to surrender and saying they had advanced about 15 miles outward from central Misrata.
“We are after you, Gadhafi,” one of the fighters in the video said.
In eastern Libya, rebels reported ongoing fighting between the towns of Ajdabiya and Brega.
The rebel army has been bogged down for weeks near Ajdabiya, unable to move on to Brega, which has an oil terminal and Libya’s second-largest hydrocarbon complex.
Rebel appeals for heavier arms from abroad have not met any response, although NATO is carrying out airstrikes on regime forces as many countries demand that Col. Gadhafi, Libya’s autocratic ruler for 42 years, relinquish power.
In the latest strike, NATO planes hit at least four sites in Tripoli, setting off explosions that thundered through the city overnight. One strike hit a building that locals said was used by a military intelligence agency. Another targeted a government building that officials said was used sometimes by parliament members.
It was not immediately clear what the other two strikes hit, but one of them sent plumes of smoke that appeared to come from the sprawling compound housing members of Col. Gadhafi’s family.
Between explosions, an aircraft dropped burning flares. Some residents responded by raking the sky with gunfire and beeping their horns.
The two sides have been locked in a standoff, with the rebels controlling most of eastern Libya and Col. Gadhafi most of the west, including Tripoli. Exceptions in the west include pockets of embattled rebel-held towns along the border with Tunisia and Misrata on the coast.
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