There is growing evidence that Gaddafi is losing the support of his troops, NATO has said. Sky News reports.
The comment was given to Sky News in response to the Libyan dictator’s taunt that he had retreated to a place “you cannot reach”.
In a recorded statement broadcast on government-run television Col Gaddafi said he was alive and had the support of millions of people.
On Friday the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he believed the politician had left Tripoli and was “probably even wounded”.
But a Nato official said: “We don’t need to find him because as we continue to strike his troops there is growing evidence that their loyalty will end and when that happens his dictatorship will end and the Libyan people will have the freedom they deserve.”
The Libyan regime has claimed that 18 people were killed in a Nato airstrike on a guesthouse in the eastern town of Brega.
However, Nato said the building it hit was an underground bunker that had been “clearly identified as a command and control centre”.
‘BUNKER WAS BUILT FOR COMMUNICATION’
A Dutch engineer has told Sky News he built a bunker for Col Gaddafi in Brega in 1988 and confirmed that its coordinates match those of the area Nato targeted on Friday. Freek Landmeter said it had been designed to resist an atomic bomb and to be used as a communication hub. He added that some of the communication and intelligence equipment had been provided by various companies across Europe.
Nato said the bunker was being used to coordinate all the of the military activity in the east of the country.
It did not confirm that civilians were killed but said it “regrets any loss of life by innocent civilians” whenever it occurs.
The government said 11 Muslim imams were among those who died after they had gathered there to pray for peace and Col Gaddafi called the strike “cowardly”.
“I tell the coward crusaders; I live in a place where you can’t get to and kill me,” he said. “I live in the hearts of millions.”
Spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said: “This is the most horrendous, terrible attack so far. Last night Libyan TV were broadcasting live from a religious gathering of over 100 people in Brega town.
“After the gathering the religious leaders and civilians left and stayed in a guesthouse in Brega. Nato attacked the guesthouse at dawn today.”
Graphic video broadcast on state television showed two rows of bodies partially covered in blankets.
All the dead appeared to be young men in civilian clothing. None appeared to be wearing religious garments.
Meanwhile, Libyan opposition leaders will seek additional support from France today, a day after the US stopped short of granting the opposition’s Transitional National Council (TNC) full diplomatic recognition.
Representative Mahmoud Jibril is due to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.
Original article here.