A four-story building in Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's Tripoli compound has been heavily damaged, possibly by cruise missiles, CNN's Nic Robertson reported.
Robertson, invited by government officials to see the damage, said early Monday local time that two circular holes in the building may be telltale signs of cruise missiles, although that could not be immediately confirmed.
The leader's whereabouts were not known.
The building is only 100 yards or so from a statue of a golden fist crushing a model plane emblazoned with "USA" -- a monument to the 1986 American bombing of Libya, in which one U.S. plane was downed.
U.S. officials earlier Sunday said they are not targeting the leader, who has defied international calls to stop attacking opposition forces.
The United States, detailing significant damage to Gadhafi's air defenses and a military convoy, also fought a public relations campaign Sunday, insisting that coalition bombing wasn't going beyond mandates in the United Nations Security Council resolution.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned against widening the current allied operations to include a direct attack on Gadhafi.
Anything that goes beyond enforcement of the no-fly zone and prevention of new military attacks on rebels risks disrupting the "very diverse coalition" that agreed to the attacks, said Gates, adding there was unanimous agreement in the top echelons of the Obama administration to push forward with military action in Libya.
Gates said the operation is off to "a strong and successful start."
He made the comments while traveling to Russia, which said earlier Sunday that innocent civilians were being killed and urged more caution. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow cited reports that "nonmilitary" targets were being bombed, including a cardiac center.
"We have no indication of any civilian casualties," U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said at a Pentagon press briefing.
The Libyan military on Sunday called an immediate cease-fire after allied forces pounded one of its convoys near Benghazi and, according to U.S. officials, significantly degraded the regime's air defenses.
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon scoffed at the report of the cease-fire, saying, "It isn't true or it was immediately violated."
"We are not going after Gadhafi," Gortney said at a Pentagon press briefing. "Regime forces are more pressed and less free to maneuver."
Asked about reports of smoke rising from the area of Gadhafi's palace, Gortney said, "We are not targeting his residence."
Despite Libyan government contentions that women, children and clerics have died in allied attacks, Gortney and other officials said that's not the case.
President Barack Obama and his national security team worked behind the scenes to shore up support within the Arab world for the military mission in Libya, according to senior administration officials.
The senior officials described the Obama team's phone calls as making clear to the Arab League that bombing Gadhafi's air defenses falls within the Security Council resolution's scope of imposing a no-fly zone and taking "all necessary measures" to stop the dictator from attacking civilians in his own country.
"We don't believe this goes beyond the resolution," said one senior administration official.
The lobbying came after Arab League officials complained earlier Sunday that the bombing by the U.S. military and other allies inside Libya exceeded the scope of merely instituting a no-fly zone.
Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa told reporters before an emergency meeting Sunday that what is happening in Libya is different from what was intended by imposing a no-fly zone, according to Egypt's state-run Ahram newspaper.
"What we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians," Moussa said, adding that "military operations may not be needed in order to protect the civilians."
But Arab League chief of staff Hisham Youssef said Moussa's comments did not signify a shift by the organization.
"The Arab League position has not changed. We fully support the implementation of a no-fly zone," Youssef said. "Our ultimate aim is to end the bloodshed and achieve the aspirations of the Libyan people."
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN that Gadhafi forces have shown little ability to counter coalition firepower.
Allied aircraft struck a Misrata area airport that has both civilian and military uses, Gortney said.
Three B-2 bombers struck only military positions at the airfield, he said.
There was violence across the country Sunday, with Gadhafi apparently shelling rebels in the west while allied airstrikes destroyed one of Gadhafi's convoys in the east.
As of Sunday night local time, the United States and British military had fired a total of 124 Tomahawk missiles at Libya's air defense sites, Gortney said.
Gadhafi had said the strikes were a confrontation between the Libyan people and "the new Nazis," and promised "a long-drawn war."
"You have proven to the world that you are not civilized, that you are terrorists -- animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you," Gadhafi had said in an earlier televised speech.
Gadhafi did not appear on screen during his address, leading Robertson to speculate that the Libyan leader did not want to give the allies clues about his location.
At the same time Gadhafi spoke, his regime was shelling Misrata using tanks, artillery and cannons, a witness said.
"They are destroying the city," said the witness, who is not being identified for safety reasons. He said rebels were fighting back.
Sounds of heavy gunfire could be heard during a telephone conversation with the man. There was no immediate word on casualties.
Meanwhile, a senior doctor at the medical center in Benghazi confirmed Sunday that 95 people were killed and an unknown number injured in Saturday's assault on the city by pro-Gadhafi forces. Doctors there also reported a shortage of supplies, especially emergency supplies.
French Defense Minister Thierry Burkhard said the coalition's aim continues to be support for the civilians.
On Sunday, the French forces did not open fire at all because it was not necessary, he said. The previous day, French planes fired and hit four tanks.
CNN's Arwa Damon saw outside Benghazi the remains of a convoy of at least 70 military vehicles destroyed by multiple airstrikes Sunday, leaving at least five charred bodies, plus twisted tanks and smashed trucks as far as she could see.
Rebels with Damon told her it was a convoy of Libyan troops loyal to Gadhafi coming to attack Benghazi.
The no-fly zone is effectively already in place, Mullen said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding that air attacks by coalition forces have taken out most of Libya's air defense systems and some airfields.
The international military coalition targeted air defense positions near the capital, Tripoli, for a second day Sunday.
A spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign Office said that for the no-fly zone to be enforced, it was necessary to target Libyan air defenses.
"Unlike Gadhafi, the coalition is not attacking civilians," the spokesperson said. "All missions are meticulously planned to ensure every care is taken to avoid civilian casualties. We will continue to work with our Arab partners to enforce the resolution for the good of the Libyan people."
At least one Arab nation, Qatar, is making direct contributions to the allied airstrikes. The country made available four fighter planes, the French foreign minister said.
In a statement broadcast on state TV Saturday, Gadhafi's military said the strikes killed 48 people --"mostly women, children and religious clerics." CNN could not immediately verify the claim.
China's foreign ministry said Sunday that it did not agree with the use of force in international relations. And Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also denounced the military intervention.
"They (the United States) want to appropriate the oil in Libya; they don't care about anyone's life in that region," Chavez said.
Some residents said they could receive weapons to fight back.
"We received a phone call around 3 a.m. that everyone should head out in the streets," a woman in Tripoli said. "Normal civilians are being able to have machine guns and take anti-aircraft machine guns ... to fire back at the airplanes."
Another witness in Tripoli said she's terrified about how Gadhafi might respond to the airstrikes.
"We're scared. We're not sure what will happen next," she said. "To be honest, I'm scared for my life."
CNN's Nic Robertson, Arwa Damon, Yousif Basil, Charley Keys, Chris Lawrence, Jill Dougherty, Elise Labott, Ed Henry, Larry Shaughnessy, Jim Bittermann, Paula Newton, Richard Roth, Maxim Tkachenko, Niki Cook and journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this reportCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun