Coalition Fires More Missiles at Libyan Targets

The U.S. military says a multinational coalition enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya has fired at least 10 more cruise missiles at Libyan military targets.

U.S. military officials said Monday the missile strikes were carried out Sunday night into Monday. A U.S. official also says a British air strike on the Tripoli compound of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi late Sunday targeted his “military command ability.”

The strike heavily damaged a building inside the compound. There was no word on casualties.

U.S. officials say the military action is aimed at protecting civilians from attacks by Mr. Gadhafi’s forces, not at targeting the Libyan leader. Aircraft from several coalition nations patrolled Libyan skies Monday, but there were no reports of new airstrikes.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told the nation’s parliament Monday that the coalition has “neutralized” Libyan air defenses and made “good progress” in achieving its goals of protecting civilians.

Libyan rebels trying to end Mr. Gadhafi’s 42-year rule were taking advantage of the coalition assault by pushing to reclaim territory lost to the government during the past 10 days.

After regrouping Monday, the rebels moved on the eastern town of Ajdabiya, attacking the positions of Gadhafi loyalists. Western media reports say the rebels later pulled back.

But, opposition sources in the western city of Misrata said government troops surrounding the rebel enclave continue to harass it, allegedly using civilians as a shield against any attacks by foreign forces.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington expects to turn control of the mission in Libya over to a coalition – probably headed by the French and British or NATO – within days.

U.S. President Barack Obama will take questions from reporters Monday for the first time since the allied assault began, during a joint news conference in Chile.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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