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NATO hits near Gaddafi compound, Libya says three dead - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Libyan rebel fighter inspects the remains of a previously-destroyed pro-Gadhafi forces tank, between the city of Ajdabiya and Benghazi, Libya, Friday, April 22, 2011. (AP)

A Libyan rebel fighter inspects the remains of a previously-destroyed pro-Gadhafi forces tank, between the city of Ajdabiya and Benghazi, Libya, Friday, April 22, 2011. (AP)

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) – NATO jets hit a target near Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in central Tripoli early on Saturday, which the government described as a car park but which Reuters reporters said looked like a bunker.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said three people were killed by the “very powerful explosion” near Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound in the early hours of Saturday.

Reuters reporters said cars were parked on the empty land but the area was surrounded by a wall and guarded by watchtowers and soldiers, suggesting it was not simply wasteland.

They saw two large holes in the ground, where the bombs had torn through a layer of soil, followed by a layer of reinforced concrete, to pierce what appeared to be an underground bunker.

Smoke was rising from one of the craters and ammunition crates lay nearby.

Ibrahim said the area was disused and the ammunition boxes were empty.

Reuters correspondents in Tripoli heard jets fly over the city, and felt a rumbling that shook walls and rattled windows.

Rebels say NATO forces appear to have stepped up attacks on areas controlled by Gaddafi in recent days.

This picture taken during a guided government tour shows loyalists to Libyan Leader Moamer Kadhafi rally in his support outside Bab al-Azibziyah after the area was targeted by a NATO airstrike in Tripoli early April 23, 2011. (AFP)

This picture taken during a guided government tour shows loyalists to Libyan Leader Moamer Kadhafi rally in his support outside Bab al-Azibziyah after the area was targeted by a NATO airstrike in Tripoli early April 23, 2011. (AFP)

A Libyan rebel fighter holds his weapon while comrades look out a window during fighting with with pro-Gadhafi troops in the besieged city of Misrata, the main rebel holdout in Gadhafi's territory, Friday, April 22, 2011. (AP)

A Libyan rebel fighter holds his weapon while comrades look out a window during fighting with with pro-Gadhafi troops in the besieged city of Misrata, the main rebel holdout in Gadhafi’s territory, Friday, April 22, 2011. (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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