A missile has totally destroyed an administrative building of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s residence in Tripoli.
The building, which was about 50 metres from the tent where Gaddafi generally meets guests, was flattened.
The administrative structure was hit by a missile, official Libyan spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told journalists who were taken to the site by bus.
New ceasefire announced
A Gaddafi military regime spokesman announced a new ceasefire in the campaign against an uprising, as a second night of international air strikes on the country appeared imminent.
The spokesman said the ceasefire, effective from 1900 GMT, had been decided following an African Union call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Moamer Gaddafi’s regime had declared a ceasefire on Friday after a UN Security Council resolution authorised any necessary measures, including a no-fly zone, to stop his forces harming civilians in the fight against the rebels.
But his troops continued an assault on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, prompting US, British and French forces to intervene with air strikes in line with the resolution.
UN chief hopes Libyans ‘keep their word’
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said that he hoped the Libyan army would “keep its word” on a new ceasefire it announced as a second night of international air strikes appeared imminent.
“I sincerely hope and urge the Libyan authorities to keep their word,” Ban told a news conference on a visit to Libya’s eastern neighbour Egypt.
“They have been continuing to attack the civilian population. This (offer) has to be verified and tested.”
The UN chief said that a halt to the Libyan army’s offensive against rebel-held towns would be only the start to a resolution of the crisis.
“That is the beginning to have discussions,” he said.
New strikes imminent
Meanwhile, allied forces are preparing for new strikes against Libya to enforce a UN resolution aimed at halting its leader Muammar Gaddafi’s attacks on civilians in suppressing a month-long uprising.
A first round of attacks by aircraft and cruise missiles prompted a defiant Gaddafi to warn of a long war in the Mediterranean “battlefield” as Tripoli reported dozens of deaths.
Arab as well as Western warplanes are converging on Italy’s air bases to join the international campaign while French aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle is heading towards Libya.
The US military says the first stage of coalition raids under a UN Security Council remit to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya has been successful, with Gaddafi’s offensive on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi stopped in its tracks.
Libya strikes ‘big misunderstanding’
Western coalition strikes stem from a “big misunderstanding” about the nature of Libya’s rebellion, Muammar Gaddafi’s son says, claiming the rebels are “gangsters” and “terrorists”.
Saif al-Islam, a key figure in the Gaddafi regime who had been tipped as a future Libyan leader, has defiantly denied there’s any reason for his father to step aside.
“There is a big misunderstanding,” he told ABC’s This Week program. “The whole country is united against the armed militia and the terrorists.
“Our people went to Benghazi to liberate Benghazi from the gangsters and the armed militia,” he said, referring to the rebel bastion in eastern Libya.
“So if you, if the Americans want to help the Libyan people in Benghazi… go to Benghazi and liberate Benghazi from the militia and the terrorists.”
Biggest western intervention since 2003
US, British and French forces have launched the West’s biggest intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, firing more than 120 Tomahawk Cruise missiles and conducting bombing raids on key Libyan targets.
US military officials say the strikes, which came after the United Nations Security Council authorised all necessary means to implement a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians, have stopped Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks.
Asked if the Gaddafi regime would retaliate by launching strikes on Western commercial aircraft, Saif al-Islam responded: “No, this is not our target.
“Our target is how to help our people in Libya, especially in Benghazi. Believe me, they are living a nightmare. A nightmare, really.”