TRIPOLI, Libya – Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi escaped a NATO missile strike in Tripoli that killed one of his sons and three young grandchildren, a government spokesman said early Sunday. Hours later, Gadhafi's forces shelled a besieged rebel port in a sign that the airstrike had not forced a change in regime tactics.
NATO's attack on a Gadhafi family compound in a residential area of Tripoli late Saturday signaled escalating pressure on the Libyan leader who has tried to crush an armed rebellion that erupted in mid-February. Libyan officials denounced the strike as an assassination attempt and a violation of international law.
It also drew criticism from Russia, which accused the alliance of going beyond its U.N. mandate to protect Libyan civilians by trying to kill Gadhafi. "More and more facts indicate that the aim of the anti-Libyan coalition is the physical destruction of Gadhafi," said Konstantin Kosachyov, a Russian lawmaker who often serves as a mouthpiece for the Kremlin's views on foreign affairs.