Airstrikes hit deep in Libya, targeting arms flow


BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — French airstrikes hit an air base deep inside Libya and NATO ships patrolled the coast to block arms and mercenaries from flowing in to help Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Other coalition bombers struck artillery, tanks and parked helicopters, officials said today.

Libyan state television today showed blackened and mangled bodies that it said were victims of airstrikes in Tripoli, the capital. Rebels have accused Gadhafi's forces of taking bodies from the morgue and pretending they are civilian casualties.

The French strikes overnight hit a base about 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of the Libyan coastline, French military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told reporters in Paris on Thursday without elaborating on the target or possible damage.

In Tripoli, Libyan deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim said that the "military compound at Juffra" was among the targets hit before dawn.

Juffra is one of at least two air bases deep in Libya's interior, on main routes that lead from neighboring countries in the Sahara region that have been suppliers of arms and fighters for the Gadhafi.

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