Monday, March 21, 2011
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- The heart of Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli lay in shambles Monday as the United States and allies continued their mission to dilute the Libyan leader's strength. But Gadhafi's whereabouts -- and his plans after promising a "long-drawn war" -- remained unknown.
A coalition military official insisted neither Gadhafi nor his residence were intended targets of the bombing late Sunday. But the official -- who was not being identified because of the sensitivity of the information -- said the compound was targeted because it contained capabilities to exercise command and control over Libyan forces.
U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney reinforced the coalition's objective.
"We are not going after Gadhafi," he said at a Pentagon press briefing. "Regime forces are more pressed and less free to maneuver."
Robertson: Inside Gadhafi's compound Tripoli under attack Fighter jets hit Libyan army convoy
Asked about reports of smoke rising from the area of Gadhafi's palace, Gortney said, "We are not targeting his residence."
Western journalists, including CNN's Nic Robertson, were taken inside the compound by Libyan officials to survey the destruction.
Robertson reported a four-story building was heavily damaged, possibly by cruise missiles. He held a chunk of metal retrieved from the site -- with writing in English -- that appeared to be from a missile.
A Libyan government official said the building was used by Gadhafi officials and said there were no casualties from the building.
The building is only 100 yards or so from a statue of a golden fist crushing a model plane emblazoned with "USA" -- a monument to the 1986 American bombing of Libya, in which a U.S. plane was shot down
Posted by Steve Douglass at 5:22 AM