This marked the first time that Gadhafi ordered the firing of a
Scud-class ballistic missile — with a range of up to 300 kilometers —
since the eruption of the civil war in February. Gadhafi was said to
have stored fewer than 100 Scud Bs despite an agreement with Britain and the
United States to eliminate Tripoli's ballistic missile arsenal.
"I think the sense is that Gadhafi's days are numbered," U.S. Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta said.
The Gadhafi regime, said to have lost its interior minister to
defection, did not report the Scud launch, Middle East Newsline reported. The missile firing
came amid a rebel drive that approached Tripoli and captured the nearby town
"There are still armed gangs inside the city," Libyan government
spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said. "We are able to drive them out."
Officials said Gadhafi could be expected to order additional ballistic
missile attacks against the rebels. They said the missiles marked the last
stand-off platform available to the Tripoli regime in wake of the NATO
destruction of the Libyan Air Force.
"We know that Gadhafi still has some ballistic and perhaps even
non-conventional capability left," the official said. "But it is not clear
whether he is in a position to use them."