British jets have bombed a key intelligence building being used by the forces of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the Ministry of Defence said today.
The attack on the Central Organisation for Electronic Research building in Tripoli came in the early hours of Sunday morning and involved RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft.
COER is described by the Libyan authorities as an engineering academy, but the MoD insisted that it was a "wholly legitimate" target as it had in fact long been used as a cover for the "nefarious activities" of the Gaddafi regime.
Until Libya gave up its weapons of mass destruction programme in 2003, COER was used in the development of long-range missiles, and recent surveillance indicated it was still being used by Gaddafi's security apparatus, said the MoD.
The Chief of the Defence Staff's communications officer, Major General Nick Pope, said: "British forces, supporting Nato's Operation Unified Protector, helped to maintain the pressure on Colonel Gaddafi's regime by bombing a key intelligence building in Tripoli and inflicting further losses on forces massed against the Libyan people at Zlitan and Gharyan.
"In the early hours of Sunday morning, Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon aircraft conducted a precision strike on the Central Organisation for Electronic Research.
"Ostensibly an engineering academy, the COER has in reality long been a cover for the regime's nefarious activities.
"Up until Colonel Gaddafi's renunciation of weapons of mass destruction in 2003, the COER was responsible for his long-range missile development programme. Intensive surveillance by Nato over the past weeks revealed that the building was still being actively used by his security apparatus to repress the civilian population, and was thus a wholly legitimate target."
He added: "Also on Sunday morning, other RAF jets successfully attacked two staging posts near Zlitan being used to muster tanks, rocket artillery and ammunition.
"Later that afternoon, an armed reconnaissance patrol located and destroyed a regime main battle tank near Gharyan, on the edge of the Djebel Nafousa, south of Tripoli."
Since the launch on March 19 of international military action to protect Libyan civilians under United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, more than 710 regime targets have been destroyed by the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army Air Corps, said the MoD.