NATO bombs Tripoli sites; rebels claim successes
“We have succeeded in taking out a significant part of Gadhafi’s military; we have significantly degraded his war machine,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday during a visit to Atlanta. “So far, our operation has been a success, but there’s still work to do.”
NATO said the alliance could not comment immediately on Tuesday’s strikes in Tripoli but hoped to say something at a news conference later in the day.
In Tripoli, government escorts did not allow reporters near the site of one building that was hit in the NATO attack. Residents said the building, which had buckled from the bombing, was used by a military intelligence agency.
Reporters, who may not leave their Tripoli hotel without government escorts, were shown damage done to a nearby hospital. A physician, Dr. Mustafa Rahim, said a 4-year-old boy was badly injured but would not allow reporters to see him, saying he was in intensive care.
Another strike targeted a building — struck once previously — that two employees said was used by parliament members and housed a library for research into Col. Gadhafi’s writings.
The U.N. refugee agency, meanwhile, appealed to European countries to step up efforts to rescue people fleeing Libya in overloaded boats.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Melissa Fleming, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that any boat leaving Libya should be considered “a boat in need of assistance.”
Ms. Fleming said a senior Somali diplomat in Tripoli told the agency that 16 bodies, including those of two babies, have been retrieved so far from a boat carrying 600 people that sank just outside the Libyan capital Friday.
Michelle Faul reported from Benghazi, Libya. Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Geneva contributed to this report.