Lybian dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound has been subjected to Nato airstrikes just hours after the he appeared on state TV.

The fortified Bab al Aziziya site, which doubles as a military base, was hit around 4am on Thursday.

After daybreak on Friday, Libyan officials took Western journalists to the site to show off the aftermath of the missile attack.

“We’ve all been brought down here with our minders to Colonel Gaddafi’s compound to see what damage there has been, “ said Sky News reporter Mark Stone.

“There’s pretty significant damage – three, perhaps four, craters and a building as well, which has been pretty heavily damaged.

“We’ve asked what it is, and all we’re being told is it’s an administrative building.”

Officials in Libya claim that three people were killed in the bombing, but this is difficult to verify.

The Nato strike came hours after Col Gaddafi appeared on state TV.

It was the first time he had been seen since his son Saif al-Arab and three of his grandchildren died nearly two weeks ago, quashing rumours the dictator had been killed or injured.

Nato, which has hit the Libyan capital repeatedly this week, said Thursday’s attack successfully hit “a large command and control bunker complex in downtown Tripoli that was used to coordinate attacks against civilian populations.”

Meanwhile, there has also been a wave of anti-government protests in several Tripoli neighbourhoods this week that has not been met with the brutal force that pro Gadaffi troops have been known for.

Fuel shortages for residents have led to spiralling costs, with black market petrol now costing more than 30 times the official price and food staple pasta quadrupling in value.

Elsewhere, the rebels fighting against Col Gaddafi’s regime received a major international boost from both Britain and the US.

On Thursday, after a London meeting with Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the rebel’s interim National Transitional Council, Prime Minister David Cameron invited Libya’s rebel leaders to set up a formal office in London.

Britain has also pledged to boost the presence of British specialists in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Furthermore, plans to transfer several million pounds’ worth of equipment to the city’s police were being finalised.

The Obama administration has also invited a rebel delegation to the White House for talks on how to win more support for their war against Col Gaddafi.

Jalil, said during his visit to London that Col Gaddafi opponents in Tripoli were in the process of acquiring weapons and predicted they would eventually contest regime forces in the capital.

“Tripoli is surrounded both internally and externally, and every day its sons go out and execute a few limited operations, perhaps to acquire some weapons,” Mr Abdul Jalil said.

“Tripoli will rise to get rid of this regime.”