NATO-led aircraft hit eight vessels of Muammar Qadhafi's navy late on Thursday as U.S. President Barack Obama predicted the veteran Libyan strongman would “inevitably” leave or be forced from power.

Tripoli described the U.S. President's comments as “delusional” and denied reports that Mr. Qadhafi's wife and daughter had fled to Tunisia and that Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem had defected.

“Given the escalating use of naval assets, NATO had no choice but to take decisive action to protect the civilian population of Libya and NATO forces at sea,” said a NATO commander. — AFP