Six strong blasts shake centre of Tripoli
TRIPOLI - Four powerful explosions late on Tuesday rocked the centre of the Libyan capital, the target of more and more intensive air raids by NATO warplanes for more than a week, an AFP journalist reported.
The first two blasts rumbled across the city at around 9:45 pm (1945 GMT) as aircraft were heard in the night skies overhead, followed by another four in 10 minute intervals.
It was not possible to determine the targets, the reporter said, adding that planes continued to fly over the Libyan capital.
Earlier, government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said 718 civilians had been killed and 4,067 wounded since air strikes against Libya began on March 19.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit the United Arab Emirates on June 9 for a meeting of the countries backing military action in Libya, a spokesman said Tuesday.
"Secretary Clinton will go to the United Arab Emirates for a meeting of the Libya Contact Group on June 9," Clinton's deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
"This meeting will build on the last Contact Group meeting held in Rome," he said, adding the participants will discuss a "range of issues," including implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973.
Resolution 1970 imposed bans on assets and travel on members of Moamer Gathafi's regime as well as an arms embargo. Resolution 1973 authorized "all necessary measures" to protect Libyan civilians, including air strikes on Gathafi's ground forces and a no-fly zone.
In the May 5 Rome talks, Clinton and her partners agreed on a new fund to aid Libya's rebels and promised to tap frozen assets of Gathafi's regime as the opposition outlined a plan for elections if the regime falls.
The International Contact Group on Libya, which includes all the countries participating in the NATO-led campaign targeting Gathafi's regime, held its inaugural meeting in Qatar.
The new meeting comes as Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said during a visit to the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi that Gathafi's regime is "finished."
NATO warplanes meanwhile struck Tripoli and African efforts for a ceasefire stalled.