NATO carried out its heaviest bombing of the Libyan capital Tripoli on Tuesday with powerful explosions heard in the sector around Moamer Kadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya residence.
Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim claimed at least three people died in the attacks which missed a deserted military barracks and hit civilians nearby instead. Nato has denied the claim.
The latest airstrikes come as the rebel National Transitional Council, the NTC, agreed to open a representative office in Washington.
Speaking from the rebel held city of Benghazi, Jeffrey Feltman, the US Assistant Secretary of State of Near Eastern Affairs, said President Obama had invited the Council to establish a representative office in the US capital.
“There is an ongoing diplomatic, political relationship and dialogue with members of the council who are considered by our fellows credible and legitimate representatives of the Libyan people,” he said.
Britain, France, Gambia, Italy and Qatar have already recognised the rebel council as their sole interlocutor in Libya.
Meanwhile, forces fighting Kadhafi have received a boost after Britain said it would provide attack helicopters along with France for NATO’s air campaign and the European Union announced it was widening s against Kadhafi’s troops.
The attack helicopters have not yet been used in Libya and aim to help Nato strike military assets hidden in urban areas while avoiding civilian casualties.
And the EU assets freeze and travel ban against Kadhafi loyalists and firms suspected of propping up the regime has been extended to members of the Libyan leader’s inner circle and a Libyan airline.