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Articles / Humanity

TRIPOLI | Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:56pm EDT

(Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi survived a NATO air strike on a Tripoli house that killed his youngest son and three grandchildren, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

Libyan officials took journalists to the house, which had been hit by at least three missiles. The roof had completely caved in in some areas, leaving mangled rods of reinforcing steel hanging down among splintered chunks of concrete.

"What we have now is the law of the jungle," government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told a news conference. "We think now it is clear to everyone that what is happening in Libya has nothing to do with the protection of civilians."

There was no immediate NATO reaction, nor was any independent confirmation of the deaths possible.

The appearance of an assassination attempt against Gaddafi is likely to draw accusations NATO is overstepping a U.N. mandate for British and French-led air forces to launch strikes to protect civilians.

Gaddafi, who seized power in a 1969 coup, is fighting an uprising by rebels who have seized much of the eastern part of Libya. He describes the rebels as religious extremists and Western agents who seek to seek control of Libya's oil.

Inside one part of the villa hit late on Saturday, a beige corner sofa was virtually untouched, but debris had caved in on other striped upholstered chairs. The blasts had been heard across the city late on Saturday.

A table football machine stood outside in the garden in a wealthy residential area. Glass and debris covered the lawns and what appeared to be an unexploded missile lay in one corner.

It appeared to be the second NATO strike near to Gaddafi in 24 hours. A missile struck near the television station early on Saturday when the Libyan leader was making an address in which he said he would never step down and offered talks to rebels.

Benghazi rebels insist they cannot trust Gaddafi. The last few days have seen fierce shelling of rebel outposts in the west. A rebel spokesman in the mountain town of Zintan said government forces has showered the city with up to 30 powerful Grad missiles late in the evening.

Tripoli has declared a sea blockade on the western outpost of Misrata, potentially robbing the rebels of a vital aid link to their eastern heartland.


Source: Reuters
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