“Civilian and military areas in Tripoli were hit a short while ago by the crusader, colonialist aggressors,” Libyan state television said in a written news flash.
The explosions were followed by sustained bursts of anti-aircraft gunfire by Libyan forces.
Meanwhile, according to AP, residents in the contested city of Misrata in western Libya reported fighting Sunday between anti-government rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces firing from tanks on residential areas. And Reuters news services reported that witnesses in Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, and in the capital Tripoli said they had heard at least 10 explosions Sunday night.
A Reuters reporter in Sirte, midway between rebel-held Benghazi and Tripoli, said it was not clear if the four explosions there had been in the town or on its outskirts.
The reporter, part of a group of Western media taken to Sirte by the government, had earlier said a convoy of 20 military vehicles including truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns had been seen leaving Sirte and moving westwards toward Tripoli, the news service reported.
Libyan rebels, emboldened by the capture of Ajdabiyah to the east of Sirte, were pushing west Sunday to retake more territory from Gaddafi’s forces, which were pulling back under pressure from Western air strikes, Reuters said.
Earlier Sunday, a day after retaking the town of Brega, rebels in Libya said they taken the oil port of Ras Lanuf.
“They are just clearing the city,” said Iman Bougaighis, a spokeswoman for the opposition. “After that they plan to stay there, overnight or longer.”
The rebels’ advance westward has gained momentum since Friday, when coalition bombings allowed them to subdue Gaddafi forces that had been positioned in the strategic town of Ajdabiya for a week.
While Brega and Ras Lanuf are sparsely populated and were expected to be easy to retake, the next town, Bin Jawwad, 27 miles to the west, was the point at which Gaddafi’s forces repelled the rebels’ westward advance earlier this month.
After Bin Jawwad, the next town along the coast is Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, where a rebel victory would have immense symbolic significance.
In rebel-held Misurata, 131 miles from Tripoli, which is surrounded by Gaddafi forces, rebels are running low on ammunition and Gaddafi forces brought in additional snipers overnight, Bougaighis said, adding that a ship carrying humanitarian aid was able to reach the city Sunday.
She was unable to confirm reports that rebels had captured one of Gaddafi’s most senior soldiers, General Bilgasim Al-Ganga, in the Ajdabiya battle.