British planes hit Gaddafi’s home town as heavy fighting continues in Libya

British warplanes have fired missiles at a bunker in Col Muammar Gaddafi’s home town, but the Libyan dictator’s whereabouts remained a mystery last night as heavy fighting continued on the ground.

RAF Tornado aircraft struck the command and control headquarters in the dictator’s home town of Sirte after more intense clashes were reported in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Rebels hunted for Gaddafi and his supporters, detained suspected loyalists and gave rise to concerns about human rights violations.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was concerned about the treatment of detainees on both sides in the Tripoli conflict.

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Defence Secretary Liam Fox said it was “premature to assume” the fighting was over, but he urged the Gaddafi regime to recognise “the game is up” and to stop attacking its own people.

The rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) cabinet intends to leave its eastern stronghold Benghazi to run the country from Tripoli. It was supported yesterday by a deal struck at the United Nations to release $1.5bn of frozen Libyan assets.

Dr Fox said: “It’s still important that we remove the potential for the regime to counter-attack against the NTC and to continue to wage war on their people, but it is far too early yet to say what the security situation will be in the weeks ahead.”

The Defence Secretary added that it was the “primary responsibility” of the new government of Libya to request help from the UN if it wanted it. He said: “We have information that there are some elements of the regime in Sirte. Where they are still continuing to wage war on the people of Libya, we will continue to degrade their military capabilities.

“The attack on the military bunker last night by the RAF was part of that. The regime needs to recognise that the game is up. It is all over and they need to stop attacking their own people.

“But as long as they do continue to attack the people, Nato will continue to act as we have done under the UN Resolution 1973 to degrade the command and control and the military assets that they are using.”