Blasts rock Libyan capital near Gaddafi compound

At least seven loud blasts were heard in Tripoli early Friday morning.

Tripoli: At least seven loud blasts were heard
in Tripoli early Friday morning as bombs fell in the vicinity
of Muammar Gaddafi`s main compound of Bab al-Aziziya.

A news agency correspondent staying in a hotel in
the capital said he heard the explosions and saw flames in the
air as bombs struck the ground. NATO jets were heard circling
the sky above.

Residents in Tripoli also told the news agency that
at least three blasts were heard on the road leading to the
airport in the capital.

NATO has been bombarding military targets in Libya since a
no-fly zone was instituted in March. That includes areas near
and in Gaddafi`s sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound, which is
the Libyan leader`s main headquarters and acts as a military

Just 48 kilometers to the west of the capital, opposition
fighters in Libya`s western mountains claimed control
yesterday of the country`s last functioning oil refinery, a
blow to Muammar Gaddafi`s regime in a week of stunning rebel
advances that could turn the tide of the 6-month-old civil

The refinery is located in the strategic city of Zawiya,
where rebels have made great strides in battles with
government forces since their initial assault on Saturday.

A rebel victory in Zawiya could leave Gaddafi nearly
cornered in his increasingly isolated stronghold of Tripoli,
the capital, just 50 kilometers to the east along the
Mediterranean coast.

Rebel fighters are now closing in on the capital from the
west and the south, while NATO controls the seas to the north.


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