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'Raids intensified in western Libya'

Nato has stepped up raids across western Libya in recent days, destroying 50 military targets to counter the build-up of Muammar Gaddafi forces near key cities, the alliance said today.

world Updated: Jul 02, 2011 16:26 IST

Nato has stepped up raids across western Libya in recent days, destroying 50 military targets to counter the build-up of Muammar Gaddafi forces near key cities, the alliance said on Saturday.

Round-the-clock operations have focused since Monday on a region that stretches from the Nafusa mountains near the Tunisian border to the western city of Misrata.

"We are engaging all military assets that are being used to indiscriminately target the civilian population throughout Libya," said Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, commander of Nato operations in Libya.

"Nato continues to increase the pressure on the Gaddafi regime and to protect civilians, wherever they are under threat of attack," he said.

The strikes have been carried out "in response to pro-Gaddafi forces massing in key urban areas and on major lines of communication" an alliance statement said.

"This buildup poses a real threat to more than 1.8 million civilians living in the cities of Nalut, Tripoli, Gharyan, Al-Khums and Misrata," it said.

In the past four days in Gharyan, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Tripoli, Nato aircraft struck eight targets including a military complex used to resupply Gaddafi troops, tanks and other military vehicles, the alliance said.

Another air raid struck an underground network of tunnels used to hide military equipment in mountainous terrain near Wadi Turghut, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of the capital.