The U.S.-led coalition forces on Monday intensified air and sea strikes on Libyan defence targets flattening a command centre of Muammar Qadhafi close to his private residence in Tripoli, as the Arab League voiced concerns over the bombardment taking a toll on civilians.

The western powers denied that civilians had been killed in their operations which got under way after the UN Security Council (UNSC) gave its nod for imposing a ‘no-fly zone' over Libya.

A coalition official said Colonel Qadhafi's “command and control capability” inside the Libyan leader's compound at Bab-el-Aziziya south of Tripoli had been demolished.

It was unclear where Colonel Qadhafi (68) was at the time of the strike on his air defences as part of a renewed allied assault on Libya involving British submarines and RAF Tornado jets.

U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. expects to turn control of the Libyan military mission over to a coalition probably headed either by the French and British or by NATO “in a matter of days.”

The Arab League, which supported the UNSC move for the ‘no-fly zone,' criticised the heavy bombardments by the western forces, saying several civilians had been killed or wounded.

Arab League's Secretary General Amr Mussa said: “What we want is the protection of civilians.”

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