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Sunday, July 24, 2011

1-Blast rock Gaddafi compound, Sunday, leader is clinging to power despite a four-month-old NATO air campaign

1-Blast rock Gaddafi compound

Libya's leader is clinging to power despite a four-month-old NATO air campaign 

Libya's leader is clinging to power despite a four-month-old NATO air campaign and a lengthening conflict with rebels seeking an end to his 41-year rule and who have seized large swathes of the North African country. TRIPOLI, July 24 (Reuters) - Explosions rocked central Tripoli for the second night in a row and Britain said weeks of NATO bombardment had inflicted extensive damage on Muammar Gaddafi's heavily-fortified compound.The explosions hit Tripoli at about 1 a.m. on Sunday, a day after NATO launched strikes on what it said was a military command site in Tripoli."Gaddafi has for decades hidden from the Libyan people behind these walls. The vast Bab al-Aziziyah compound is not just his personal residence, but more importantly is also the main headquarters for his regime, with command and control facilities and an army barracks," Pope said on Sunday.Major General Nick Pope, the Chief of the Defence Staff's communications officer, said 

Royal Air Force aircraft struck the high perimeter walls of Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziyah complex."

Successive NATO strikes in past weeks have inflicted extensive damage on the military facilities within."As the war drags on longer than many had initially envisaged, the West is increasingly hoping for a negotiated end.Libya's government also appears willing to talk. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said on Friday that Libyan representatives were ready to hold more talks with the United States and the rebels, but that Gaddafi would not quit.Ibrahim said senior Libyan officials had a "productive dialogue" with U.S. counterparts last week in a rare meeting that followed the Obama administration's recognition of the rebel government."We believe other meetings in the future ... will help solve Libyan problems," Ibrahim told reporters in Tripoli. "We are willing to talk to the Americans more."TOUGH FIGHTOn the cusp of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, poorly armed rebels seem unlikely to quickly unseat addafi.The rebels declared advances this week but they also suffered losses near Misrata and in fighting for Brega.On Thursday rebels said minefields slowed their advance on Brega -- which they had earlier claimed to have all but captured -- but that they had pushed closer to Zlitan, on the Mediterranean coast 160 km (100 miles) east of Tripoli.