Low-flying NATO jets have reportedly conducted a rare daytime bombing campaign on Tripoli, Libya, setting off huge explosions and also striking the military barracks and compound of Moammar Gaddafi.
Libyan state TV reported that Gaddafi’s compound was enduring intensive continuous bombardment” and that some buildings in the vicinity were completely destroyed.
Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Tripoli, blasted the air strikes.
Instead of talking to us, they are bombing us. They are going mad. They are losing their heads, he said.
He added: We believe NATO understands that its military campaign is failing miserably. No one has the right to shape Libya's future except for Libyans.
The strikes come as pressure on Gaddafi to step down has intensified to unprecedented levels. Even some of Gaddafi’s allies on the African continent are demanding his resignation.
The President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who also chairs the African Union Panel for Libya, has called for Gaddafi’s immediate resignation.
Whatever happens, there will be a negotiated solution. In any case, Gaddafi can no longer lead Libya. His departure has become necessary, Aziz told Agence France Presse.
Meanwhile, Russia and China (who up to now have largely resisted efforts by Western Europe and the US to push Gaddafi out of power) have sent representatives to Benghazi to meet with Libyan rebel leaders in order to mediate a peaceful end to the four-month-long crisis.
We have come to Benghazi to facilitate dialogue between the two camps, said Mikhail Margelov, Russia's Africa envoy, according to reports.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has already declared that Gaddafi needs to vacate his throne.
Concurrently, Libya's Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi has flown to Beijing, China for talks on a possible resolution to the conflict.