TRIPOLI - Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has said he is in a place where NATO bombs “cannot reach”, in an audio message broadcast on state television.
He also condemned as cowardly an attack on his compound in Tripoli on Thursday.
Libyan officials said the strike killed three people. NATO officials said a command-and-control bunker was hit.
Col. Gaddafi's statement came after Italy's foreign minister said he had probably been wounded in an air strike and was believed to have left Tripoli.
Two loud explosions rocked the capital Tripoli on Friday night, as jets were heard overhead, witnesses said. There is no word on any damage.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he heard the report that Col Gaddafi was injured from the Roman Catholic bishop of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli.
“He told us that Gaddafi is very probably outside Tripoli and is probably also wounded. We don't know where or how,” said Frattini.
He also said international pressure was causing “the disintegration of the regime from the inside”.
The Vatican's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, told the BBC that he could not confirm that Bishop Martinelli had made the comments.
Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the report was “nonsense”. He insisted Col Gaddafi was had not been harmed by any strikes and was “leading the country day by day” from Tripoli.
“The leader is in very good health, high morale and high spirits.”
Meanwhile, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said that on Monday he would seek arrest warrants for three people considered most responsible for crimes against humanity in Libya. Diplomats said Col Gaddafi was likely to top the list.
Last week, he said forces loyal to Col Gaddafi were murdering and persecuting civilians in widespread and systematic attacks.
Following the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya's uprising was sparked by February's arrest of a human rights campaigner in the eastern city of Benghazi that rapidly spread to other cities.
Rebel forces called on Col Gaddafi to relinquish his five-decade rule and open Libya up to a more democratic rule.
NATO said earlier this week that its planes had carried out 6,000 missions over Libya since its military operations began at the end of March.
The air strikes have helped secure rebels in their strongholds in eastern Libya, but observers say it remains unclear to what extent they have loosened Col Gaddafi's grip on the west of the country. (BBC)