A daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was killed and his two youngest sons seriously wounded in the U.S. air strike on his home and headquarters at the Bab Azizzia Barracks early this morning, according to their doctor.
Dr. Mohammed Muffa told reporters this afternoon that Qaddafi's entire family was "really in terror" after the raid, and his wife, Safia, remained in a state of shock.
While Qaddafi himself was said by Muffa to be in good health, the Libyan leader made no public appearances or statements on this day that began and ended with the sound of rockets, gunfire and explosions thundering across Tripoli.
Libyan radio said dozens of people had been killed in the raids and hospital officials said more than 100 were injured. Reporters counted at least 17 bodies and saw badly wounded victims in hospitals.
Tonight, long after the 2 a.m. raids that jarred the capital and Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, antiaircraft batteries opened up with a new barrage.
The city was blacked out and rockets and tracer bullets criss-crossed the sky, but there was no clear evidence of new bombing or other attacks. U.S. officials denied Libyan radio reports that new raids were under way, but there was speculation here that U.S. reconnaissance planes may have drawn the Libyan fire.
Throughout the daylight hours, the Libyan capital was gripped in what seemed a stunned silence. But the regime moved quickly after the first strike to exploit an image of itself as the innocent victim of American aggression.
Libyan authorities took foreign reporters in groups to view damage to civilian areas and to see civilian victims in hospitals, but they did not allow them to examine military and commando sites that the United States said were the targets of the raids. They also were unable to produce physical evidence of U.S. planes they said they had shot down or U.S. pilots they said had been killed by angry Libyans.
From the early morning raids, at least 14 persons were counted dead by a reporter in one of the city morgues. Only one was in uniform and several, including children, were in pajamas. A few had lost limbs. At the Old Central Hospital, doctors said as many as 100 persons were being treated for serious injuries.
Doctors at a pediatric hospital announced that Hanna, a 1-year-old girl adopted by Qaddafi a few months ago, had died there from injuries in the attack.
Reporters were shown two children said to be among Qaddafi's five sons -- Sef Arab, 4, and Amis, 3. They lay hooked up to intensive care facilities, and were said to be in serious condition. Muffa said they were bleeding from the nose and ears as a result on the concussion from bombs that fell near them. Qaddafi's other daughter and three sons reportedly were not injured.
Qaddafi himself was not seen in public today and uncharacteristically made no statements.
Libyan radio said he met with the Soviet ambassador to send a message to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Libyan television showed what it said was film of the meeting. Qaddafi, who appeared drawn, said nothing, and there was no way to tell when the pictures had been taken. Damascus radio said he telephoned Syrian President Hafez Assad today to discuss the U.S. attack.
Tripoli's streets, never bustling, were empty most of today. Anger among the people appeared muted by the impact of what had hit them. Despair and fear were evident on many faces.
In the early morning, some soldiers stood with tears welling in their eyes. Foreigners, including American reporters, found themselves generally treated courteously as they went about their busisness.
Most of what could be reported, however, was carefully selected by government officials.
From physical evidence seen by reporters, the U.S. bombers appeared to have missed one of their major objectives and instead cut a swath of destruction through Bin Ashur, a middle-class neighborhood filled with embassies and diplomatic residences.
Just before dawn, reporters were taken there in buses. Along Bin Ashur Street, scores of civilians were wounded, including a handful of foreigners. There were corpses. There were embassies damaged by the blasts.
A man trembling in shock as he gazed at his devastated home told of a rain of bombs and people running from their houses at 2 a.m. It looked "like hell" he said, "everybody going to someplace and they don't know where."
Japanese Ambassador Eiji Tanaka, talking to reporters as he repaired damage to his home, said that the bombers' targets in the area presumably were a security police headquarters and a communications center topped by a towering antenna that makes it a conspicuous target.
But this morning the antenna still stood and what was visible of the building appeared relatively unscathed except for rows of shattered windows.
The French Embassy two blocks away was severely damaged. The rear of the building was crumbled, the windows blown away, and the iron railing on its balcony twisted by the blast.
A French diplomat rummaging through the debris at dawn said no one had been hurt there, although one man had been inside at the time.
A building behind the embassy was flattened. Some residents of the neighborhood said they feared a family may have been buried underneath.
A Romanian cultural center and residences of the Swiss, Finnish and Austrian ambassadors also were damaged. The wife of the Italian consul was cut on the forehead by flying debris, diplomats said.
Near a little park with bomb-blasted trees, the sides of apartment buildings were sheared away by the impact of explosives that left deep craters awash with sewage in the street. A large house appeared to have been collapsed by a direct hit on the roof.
Government officials and men with automatic weapons steered the press through the wreckage, clearly hoping that the images the reporters took away with them would disprove the U.S. claims of pinpoint accuracy and infliction of minimum civilian casualties.
[One U.S. pilot who took part in the raids on Benghazi told reporters aboard the USS America that the bombers "appeared to be right on the targets," according to a pool report transmitted by United Press International. "It appeared to me that if there was collateral damage in Tripoli, it was done by Libyans themselves firing missiles straight up into the air which came down to the city," the pilot said.]
One of the men in beige camouflage uniform, armed with an assault rifle and accompanying the reporters to Bin Ashur, was Ali Hodiri, formerly head of the Libyan diplomatic office in Washington and now a ranking Foreign Ministry offical.
"There is a dead man. You can go see him," directed another Libyan escort. Laid out in the courtyard of a blasted house was a man perhaps in his 70s, already white with death and dust from the rubble that had buried him.
Another house was full of water from broken pipes that mixed with the blood of the wounded and dead. A boy's running shoe lay in a hallway.
Information about the strikes against other targets was sketchy and reporters were not allowed to visit them.
A man presented to reporters as a West German air conditioner technician working at the Bab Azizzia Barracks said that the only serious damage to the Qaddafi home, where the injuries to the children reportedly had taken place, was broken windows. More of the attack, he said, had fallen on an empty administration building.
The Libyans were embarrassed when they attempted to show the reporters one of 20 U.S. planes they claim to have shot down.
After driving the press to the town of Tanjura, east of the capital, they could find no wreckage nor was there any evidence of the pilot said by Tripoli Radio to have been captured and beaten to death by an angry mob.
The Associated Press reported the following from Tripoli:
Taher Gubbia stared at the ruins of his three-story home, devastated in the U.S. air strike, and muttered, "Those bloody Americans say they don't hit civilians."
"That's what you hear on the radio," said Gubbia, a professor and a Georgetown University graduate. "But here you see the truth."
His home was one of scores damaged in the Bin Ashur neighborhood.
"I was in my home with my wife and four children," said Gubbia, a professor of English at Tripoli's Fatah University. "I just heard the cries of my children and I didn't know what to do."
He said he managed to get his family out and no one was hurt -- a lucky break in a block where blood-soaked mattresses and pools of blood on the floor in some ruined buildings bore witness to the sudden devastation.
Hundreds of young men, many dressed in green fatigue uniforms and some carrying weapons, shouted angry slogans -- "Down with America! Assassins, assassins! Criminal, criminal!"