Fighting rages on despite condemnation

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said a
U.N. resolution authorizing military action in Libya resembled “medieval
calls for crusades” after Western forces launched a second wave of air

As diplomatic tempers over the
campaign flared, officials in Tripoli said a missile intended to kill Muammar
Gaddafi had destroyed a building in his fortified compound, which was heavily
bombed in 1986 by the Reagan administration.

“It was a barbaric bombing,”
said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, showing pieces of shrapnel that he
said came from the missile. “This contradicts American and Western
(statements) … that it is not their target to attack this place.”

There was no comment on the strike
from attacking forces.

“The resolution is defective
and flawed,” said Russia’s Putin, whose country did not use its power to
veto the resolution at the United Nations. “It allows everything. It
resembles medieval calls for crusades,” Putin added.

China’s official newspapers have stepped
up Beijing’s opposition to air attacks on Libya, accusing nations backing the
strikes of breaking international rules and courting new turmoil in the Middle

 China also did not veto the U.N. resolution.

The U.N. resolution authorizing international
military action in Libya not only sets up a no-fly zone but allows “all
necessary measures” to prevent attacks on civilians.

Since the airstrikes began, the
number of civilians fleeing Libya has decreased as Libyans in particular wait
out the rapidly changing situation, the U.N. refugee agency said.

The U.S. military, for now at the
lead of the international campaign, is trying to walk a fine line over the end
game of the assault.

It is avoiding for now any appearance that it aims to take
out Gaddafi or help the rebels oust him, instead limiting its stated goals to
protecting civilians.

Britain also is treading carefully.

Foreign Secretary William Hague
refused to say if Gaddafi would or could be assassinated, insisting he would
not “get drawn into details about what or whom may be targeted.”

“I’m not going to speculate on
the targets,” Hague said in a heated interview with BBC radio. “That
depends on the circumstances at the time.”



Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah
Photo: File