UK hits Libya bodyguard training base, spy centres

Gaddafi is famous for being protected by dozens of female bodyguards.

Reuters May 17, 2011

LONDON: British armed forces attacked a training base used by bodyguards for Muammar Qaddafi's inner circle in the latest strikes on Libya, the Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday.

Libyan intelligence agency buildings were also attacked in the overnight raids on the Libyan capital Tripoli, using Tornado aircraft and Tomahawk missiles fired from a submarine.

One of the intelligence centres hit played a significant role in the collection of information by Colonel Qaddafi's secret police and the other was a headquarters for Libya's External Security Organisation,  the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The training base that was attacked was used by Qaddafi's Executive Protection Force, which acts as the bodyguard for Qaddafi's inner circle government and was entrusted with other "sensitive tasks", the British ministry said. Vehicles at the training base had been "identified as having been directly involved in the bloody suppression of public demonstrations in Tripoli on March 4,

Qaddafi is famous for being protected by dozens of female bodyguards.

The British strikes were carried out in conjunction with strikes by other NATO allies, which were bombing Libyan targets under a United Nations' mandate to protect civilians. NATO forces had hit targets within Qaddafi's Bab al-Aziziyah compound several times during the conflict, but deny they are targeting the leader himself.

Qaddafi survived an attack on a house in Tripoli on April 30 that Libyan officials said killed his youngest son and three grandchildren.

The targets appeared to indicate a broadening of British operations, which until now have concentrated on knocking out Libyan weapons and command and control systems. Britain's General David Richards said in a newspaper interview last weekend that NATO must broaden its range of bombing targets in Libya or run the risk of Qaddafi staying in power.


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