Gaddafi defiant amid new NATO strikes on Tripoli

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Gaddafi defiant amid new NATO strikes on Tripoli

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State-run Libyan TV has broadcast pictures it says show Colonel Gaddafi being driven around Tripoli on Thursday after NATO strikes on the Libyan capital.

Wearing a black hat and jacket, and looking more like a rock star than a military commander, the figure gestures triumphantly from an open-top car amid celebrating crowds.

The message appears to be that the Libyan leader is unperturbed by the attacks.

Smoke rose from southeastern Tripoli as correspondents in the city reported hearing several explosions. Libyan TV said there had been civilian casualties.

Heavy anti-aircraft fire was also heard, it is presumed from government forces firing at NATO warplanes.

Reports also spoke of NATO attacks on targets outside Tripoli, while there has been more fighting in the rebel-held city of Misrata, under siege from Gaddafi’s forces.

In Ajdabiya in eastern Libya, a violent exchange of fire took place as rebels replied with rockets to shells from government forces.

With NATO’s help from the air, the rebels retook control of the strategic town earlier this week.

They say communications equipment they have received from NATO members has helped their operations.

There have been calls for the international community to supply weapons too – calls that so far have been resisted.