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updated: 7/17/2011 8:26 AM

NATO hits military depot in eastern Tripoli

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Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya -- NATO jets destroyed a military storage facility and other targets in Tripoli's eastern outskirts early Sunday, days after key international players recognized Libya's rebel leadership as the country's legitimate representative.

From the city, bright flashes could be seen on the eastern horizon just after midnight, followed by a steady rumbling that went on for an hour. Planes could be heard crisscrossing the night sky lit up by a near full moon, and into Sunday afternoon as well.

In Brussels, NATO said its forces had hit a military storage along with three radar sites and anti-aircraft missile launcher east of the capital. The alliance reported it flew a total of 110 sorties and carried out 45 strikes Saturday, including several against armored vehicles and rocket launchers near Brega, a strategic oil town in eastern Libya the rebels are attempting to retake.

Despite the boost given by the recognition of the rebels and a pledge to transfer Libya's billions in frozen assets to rebel coffers, the struggle against Moammar Gadhafi has settled into a stalemate since the mass uprising broke out in mid-February.

The rebels have set up an interim administration in the eastern city of Benghazi and seized control of the port city of Misrata and much of the western Nafusa mountain range. Gadhafi controls the rest of Libya from his stronghold in the capital Tripoli.

Rebel efforts to move on the capital from the east in Brega, from the west in Misrata and from the south in the Nafusa mountains, have all bogged down in the face of better equipped and trained government troops.

Gadhafi himself has made a series of defiant speeches over the last few days, ridiculing NATO and making it clear he has no intention of leaving power -- as demanded by the Western powers.

On Saturday, 10 rebels were killed in their latest advance on the strategic oil town of Brega. Rebel fighters said they were sweeping the outskirts for land mines so they could move in.

Rebels have been trying to take the town with its large gas and oil storage facilities for weeks.