Loud blasts heard in Libyan capital | Inquirer News

Loud blasts heard in Libyan capital

/ 08:37 AM July 17, 2011

TRIPOLI – A series of powerful explosions was heard early Sunday in the Libyan capital Tripoli, bastion of the embattled regime headed by Colonel Moamer Kadhafi.

At least 13 blasts were heard before and just after 2300 GMT Saturday. An AFP journalist was unable to say immediately what the targets had been.

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State television channel Al Jamahiriya reported that “the colonialist crusader aggressor,” a reference to NATO, had raided civilian and military sites in the Ain Zara district and Tajoura in the eastern suburbs of Tripoli.

The television, quoting a military source, said there had been victims but did not give any figure.

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The Atlantic alliance, which has been spearheading UN-mandated military operations since March 31, is trying to oust Kadhafi, but its air strikes have not proved decisive.

Kadhafi said on Saturday he would never leave the land of his ancestors after fresh international calls for him to go and as rebels pressed their campaign to overthrow him.

“They are asking me to leave. That’s a laugh. I will never leave the land of my ancestors or the people who have sacrificed themselves for me,” he said in a loudspeaker address to supporters in Zawiyah, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Tripoli.

Western and regional powers met in Istanbul on Friday for the fourth gathering of the Libya contact group, which saw a new call on Kadhafi to go after more than four decades in power.

The Libyan leader has for five months been faced with an armed rebellion unprecedented since he came to power in 1969. The conflict has claimed thousands of lives and caused hundreds of thousands to flee the country, according to United Nations agencies.

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TAGS: Capital, Conflict, Libya
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