Libyan government says NATO struck communications facility

Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's government said NATO airstrikes destroyed a communications facility in the city of Misurata, Libyan state television reported Wednesday.

NATO said it struck a command and control node on Wednesday in the western city, which has seen some of the worst violence since fighting between rebels and Gaddafi's forces began.

The US and Britain agreed that the fight against Gaddafi's regime must be intensified, but rule out 'putting boots on the ground,' US President Barack Obama said in a press conference in London.

Obama said 'enormous progress' had already been made in Libya. Wearing down Gaddafi would be a 'slow' process, and it was therefore important to strengthen opposition forces in Libya, he said.

Russia sharply criticized the latest round of air strikes by NATO on the capital Tripoli, which remains in Gaddafi's control.

A statement from Russia's Foreign Ministry said the early Wednesday morning strikes were 'useless' and a 'violation of UN resolutions,' adding that it 'will lead to even more suffering of the Libyan population.'

NATO said it struck a vehicle storage facility, a missile storage facility, and a command and control node in the capital.

Russia has accused NATO nations of abusing the spirit of the UN resolution in an attempt to force Gaddafi from power.

NATO has launched more than 8,000 sorties in an air campaign which began in late March, after the UN Security Council passed a resolution ordering the protection of civilians in the conflict.

[Source: M&C, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Tripoli and Cairo, 25May11]

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