But a U.S. general said allied bombing raids were likely to become less frequent as Washington holds back from being sucked into the Libyan civil war.
State television said several sites had come under attack in the capital on Monday. Western powers had no confirmation of new strikes in a U.N.-mandated campaign to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians from Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.
Rebels, who had been driven back towards their eastern Benghazi stronghold before the air attacks halted an advance by Gaddafi’s forces, have so far done little to capitalise on the campaign — raising fears the war could grind to a stalemate.
But Washington, wary of being drawn into another war after long campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, has ruled out specific action to overthrow Gaddafi, though France said on Monday it hoped the Libyan government would collapse from within.
“My sense is that — that unless something unusual or unexpected happens, we may see a decline in the frequency of attacks,” General Carter Ham, who is leading U.S. forces in the Libyan operation, told reporters in Washington.
President Barack Obama, facing questions at home about the United States military getting bogged down in a third Muslim country, said Washington would cede control of the Libyan operation in days.
“We anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days and not in a matter of weeks,” Obama told a news conference during a visit to Chile.
He did not spell out which nation or organisation would take charge, but Britain and France took a lead role in pushing for the intervention in Libya. The missile strikes have already been extensive enough to have destroyed much of Libya’s air defences.
Libyan state television reported that several sites in Tripoli had been subject to new attacks by what it called the “crusader enemy”. “These attacks are not going to scare the Libyan people,” said a state television broadcast.
Anti-aircraft gunfire rang out throughout the night and pro-Gaddafi slogans echoed around the city centre. Cars sped through Tripoli streets honking wildly.
Al Jazeera television said radar installations at two air defence bases in eastern Libya had been hit. However, a French armed forces spokesman said France, which has been involved in strikes in the east, had no planes in the air at the time.
Meanwhile, residents in two besieged rebel-held cities in western Libya, Misrata and Zintan, said they had been attacked by Gaddafi’s forces. Security analysts have said they believe government troops will try to force their way into civilian areas to escape attack from the air.
In Misrata, residents said people had gone out into the streets to try to stop Gaddafi’s forces entering the city.
“When they gathered in the centre, the Gaddafi forces started shooting at them with artillery and guns,” said the resident, who gave his name as Saadoun. He said nine people were killed.
Zintan, near the Tunisian border, faced heavy shelling, two witnesses said, forcing residents to flee to mountain caves. Several houses were destroyed and a mosque minaret destroyed.
“New forces were sent today to besiege the city. There are now at least 40 tanks at the foothills of the mountains near Zintan,” Abdulrahmane Daw told Reuters by phone from the town. Reuters