Explosions in Tripoli, Rebels Seize Libyan Town

Explosions were heard in Tripoli on Monday night and into Tuesday morning — the latest in several rounds of bombings in the last two days, a Reuters witness said.

Libyan TV said al-Karama neighbourhood was hit by NATO forces, which have been bombing targets of Gaddafi’s government since March.

It later said a telecommunications station was hit in a bombing.

“The crusading colonial aggressor this evening hit and destroyed a communications centre west of Tripoli, severing land communications in some areas. The station is civilian,” it said.

Rebels control the east of Libya, the western city of Misrata and the range of mountains near the border with Tunisia. But they have been unable to advance on the capital against Gaddafi’s better-equipped forces, despite NATO air strikes.

Rebels seized Yafran, 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Tripoli, on Monday after British warplanes destroyed two tanks and two armoured personnel carriers on June 2.

Yafran is spread over a hill, the bottom part of which had been controlled by pro-Gaddafi forces for more than a month and used to besiege the rebel-controlled part.

“As long as Gaddafi continues to threaten civilians, NATO will maintain the pressure upon his regime and will continue to degrade his ability to attack the population of Libya,” said Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, commander of the NATO mission.

Rebels control the east of Libya, the western city of Misrata and the range of mountains near the border with Tunisia. But they have been unable to advance on the capital against Gaddafi’s better-equipped forces, despite NATO air strikes.

Rebels seized Yafran, 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Tripoli, on Monday, in a sign NATO strikes may be helping them advance after weeks of deadlock.

British warplanes destroyed two tanks and two armoured personnel carriers on June 2.

Yafran is spread over a hill, the bottom part of which had been controlled by pro-Gaddafi forces for more than a month and used to besiege the rebel-controlled part.

Food, drinking water and medicines were running short.

Asked about reports of rebel gains in the Western Mountains area, Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Khaled Kaim told reporters government forces could retake rebel territory in hours, but were holding back from doing so to avoid civilian casualties.

NATO attack helicopters were in action in the east on Sunday. Apaches destroyed a rocket launcher system on the coast near the eastern town of Brega, Britain’s Defence Ministry said.

A French military source said French planes and helicopters had been in Libya every night since Friday, but gave no details. Reuters