Libyan soldiers survey the damage at Bab Al Azizia compound in Tripoli (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A missile strike has destroyed part of a building in Libya's capital, Tripoli, which Western officials say was one of Col Muammar Al Qathafi's command centres. Smoke was still seen coming from it early Monday morning. Reports said the compound was hit by a Tomahawk missile or missiles.
Libyan government spokesman Ibrahim Musa said the strike had targeted an 'administrative building' at Bab al-Aziziya in Tripoli, that is also known to serve as a military base and compound for the Libyan leader's.
The previous day the gates of the compound were thrown open and Libyans were encouraged to enter in support of the leader. Thousands of enthusiastic civilian Al Qathafi supporters responded to the call, saying they were ready to die with the leader if necessary. According to reports, they intended to form a shield around the compound.
Not long after the strike on the compound, journalists were shown a ruined three or four-storey building. Pieces of the missile that did the damage were scattered around. But it was not clear if there were any casualties.
There had been conflicting reports as to who lobbed the missile, some reporting it was the work of the Americans, and others of the British forces. It has been reported from Pentagon sources, that the strikes did not come from a US aircraft, perhaps from a British or French attack. A senior defence official tcould not rule out whether another member of the coalition, French or British launched the attack.
It could not be verified whether any the Al Qathafi supporters were still in the compound when the missiles struck.
An official from one of the coalition countries, who asked not to be named, told BBC that the strike destroyed Col Al Qathafi's "command and control capability"
Countries including the US, UK and France are continuing strikes after the UN authorised action to protect Libyan civilians from government forces.
They have now also been joined by Qatar who are sending four planes, while UAE are also expected to have a say with their participation as Muammar Al Qathafi is fighting a rebellion that broke out in mid-February in the eastern side of the country, specifically from the city of Benghazi.
The action against the Libyan regime's military began on Saturday afternoon with French air strikes in the east: a barrage of cruise missiles, launched from US and UK ships and submarines followed.
US officials have been saying that Col Al Qathafi himself is not a target of the air strikes.
The leader's removal is not a stated aim of the UN Security Council resolution, and that the attacks are aimed at his armed forces and air defence systems. Most probably, Col Al Qathafi was not at the compound at the time of the bombing.
Meanwhile, a Libyan official has said that 64 people had been killed in strikes from the UN-sponsored forces at the weekend. The figure could not be verified. The official spokesman said it was proof the allies were targeting non-military locations.
Despite the second declaration of a ceasefire by the regime, on Sunday night the city echoed with gunfire and the sky lit up with the red glow of tracer rounds. Anti-aircraft fire rose over Tripoli and several explosions were reported. Two allied raids on Tripoli reportedly provoked heavy barrages of anti-aircraft aimed at missile and aircraft.
A few hours before the strike on the Bab al-Aziziya compound, at the Pentagon, US Navy Vice Adm William Gortney said the coalition had control of the air space between Tripoli and the main rebel stronghold, Benghazi, adding: "The no-fly zone is effectively in place."
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has left the Mediterranean port of Toulon for Libya, while Denmark and Norway are each sending six planes.
Spain has sent at least three planes, while Italy also has jets ready to deploy. Canada has deployed six jets to Sicily and is preparing them for action. Qatar has become the first Arab country to express its intention of participating in the UN resolution by sending four planes. Others might follow.
Meanwhile, in the city of Misurata, that has been under siege by pro-government troops, residents have reported that despite yet another ceasefire declaration by the regime's armed forces, bombardments from the loyalist forces are continuing.
Allied forces are said to be finding it difficult to strike at the city without harming the very civilians they have come to save.
The US reportedly said that Libyan government claim that armed forces were observing a ceasefire "isn't true or has been immediately violated", and even Benghazi was still under threat.