Nato forces including RAF Typhoons have carried out air strikes on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in the capital, Tripoli.
The explosions followed a fifth straight night of air strikes and signal a possible switch in tactics by the forces trying to end Colonel Gaddafi’s 41-year reign.
“RAF Typhoons, along with other Nato aircraft, last night used precision-guided weapons to bring down guard towers along the walls of Colonel Gaddafi’s Bab Al Aziziyah complex in the centre of Tripoli,” said Chief of the Defence Staff Strategic Communications Officer, said Major General John Lorimer.
“For decades, Colonel Gaddafi has hidden from the Libyan people behind these walls, spreading terror and crushing opposition.
“The massive compound has not just been his home, but is also a major military barracks and headquarters, and lies at the heart of his network of secret police and intelligence agencies.
“Previous Nato attacks have hit command and control and other military facilities within the complex.
“Last night’s action sends a powerful message to the regime’s leadership and to those involved in delivering Colonel Gaddafi’s attacks on civilians that that they are no longer hidden away from the Libyan people behind high walls.
“The air mission was conducted as part of Nato’s Operation Unified Protector, to protect Libyan civilians under threat of attack and enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.”
It has also been confirmed that blasts heard this morning targeted the complex.
Sky News correspondent Lisa Holland, reporting from the city, said she had heard the bombs hit somewhere near the centre.
“It’s the first time, as far as I’m aware, that we’ve had a day-time explosion here in Tripoli. Air strikes previously have been at night.”
Libyan state television and Arab news channel Al Arabiya said Nato raids also caused “human and material” damage near Mizda, to the south.
Nato is poised to deploy attack helicopters over Libya for the first time, with British Apaches joining in the offensive.
The decision to deploy comes as the international community tries to intensify pressure on Colonel Gaddafi to give up power.
Russia, too, for the first time, has joined Western calls for the dictator to step down.