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UN aid chief Valerie Amos has called for a pause in hostilities in Libya to help ease the humanitarian crisis.

Amos, the UN chief humanitarian coordinator, told the UN Security Council that Misurata, the only rebel-held city in western Libya, was in a dire state and short of food and water.

"Humanitarian agencies are most concerned about the people living in areas where fighting is taking place," she said. "In Misurata, which is at the forefront of our concerns, shelling and fighting has been ongoing in parts of the city for over two months. Stocks are available, but some people are running short of food, water, and other basics."

Amos also called on the Security Council to ensure that all parties respect international law.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said NATO launched a number of missiles in the capital Tripoli overnight.

The strikes appeared to target government buildings, including a compound of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The strikes come after NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said time is running out for Qaddafi.

A NATO airstrike on Qaddafi's Tripoli compound on May 1 left a son and three of his grandchildren dead.

compiled from agency reports