As NATO forces launched their heaviest attack in the Libyan capital of Tripoli early Tuesday, a senior U.S. administration official invited the country’s rebels to open an office in Washington, D.C.
An alliance aircraft struck at least 15 targets in central Tripoli on Tuesday, with most of the strikes focused on an area near the command compound of Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddaffi, according to a New York Times report.
The attacks, which took place over a 30-minute period around 1 a.m., caused a series of explosions and sent plumes of smoke into the air.
A government spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, said that at least three were killed in the strikes, with 150 wounded. According to Ibrahim, the casualties were civilians, as the military commanders that were supposed to be there had cleared the area in anticipation of the strike.
While Ibrahim said the strikes hit a compound of auxiliary army forces, NATO said that the target was actually a government vehicle storage facility that has been supporting Qaddafi’s regime forces in their attacks on civilians.
Meanwhile, on a visit to Benghazi, Libyan city largely controlled by the rebel opposition, Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, reached out to rebels with a formal invitation to open a representative office in Washington, according to the Associated Press.
While the administration has not yet formally recognized the rebel group, the National Transitional Council, as France and Italy have, the move signals U.S. support of the opposition.
"We are not talking to Qaddafi and his people. They are not talking to us. They have lost legitimacy. We are dealing with people that we consider to be legitimate and representative and credible," Feltman told reporters in Benghazi, according to the AP.