TRIPOLI, Libya, March 3 (UPI) -- Two towns in eastern Libya were bombed Thursday hours after the government said reports of attacks against protesters were false, witnesses said.
No injuries were reported when two bombs were dropped on military facilities in Ajdabiya or when another bomb was dropped in al-Brega, CNN said.
Earlier, a government spokesman told CNN claims of military attacks on anti-government demonstrators were false.
"We need tribal intervention, social intervention to help us convince these people to come to the negotiating table," Musa Ibrahim said. "This is an armed rebellion, with people going around attacking police stations, army offices, getting a hold of guns and attacking."
Gadhafi has lost support among key Libyan tribal officials, CNN reported Thursday. A leading figure in the Warfallah tribe announced soon after the protests began the tribe would no longer support Gadhafi, and the Zawiya tribe, based in a key petroleum-rich part of Libya, has threatened to disrupt oil supplies, CNN said.
Scholars specializing in Libyan affairs say the estimated 140 tribes in Libya constitute a critical element of the Libyan political power structure, so loss of support among tribal leaders could prove critical to Gadhafi's prospects of weathering the crisis, the report said.
For weeks protesters have been demonstrating against the 40-year rule of leader Moammar Gadhafi, seeking his ouster.
Ibrahim said the government supported peaceful protests and repeated claims made by Gadhafi that al-Qaida operatives were behind the chaos. He said arrests have been made and the government is "prepared to take these people and show them on international media."
He criticized plans to investigate Gadhafi on war crimes allegations, saying the decision was based on unsubstantiated reports, CNN reported.
On Thursday, the International Criminal Court is expected to present an overview of the alleged war crimes since the protests started last month. The United Nations estimated more than 1,000 people have been killed and many more were injured. Libya's ambassador to the United States estimated the death toll was closer to 2,000.
Ibrahim said the plans to investigate Gadhafi were off-base.
"The international community's reaction toward what is happening in Libya has not been very honest and transparent," he told CNN. "The (U.N.) Security Council, for example, based its agreement against Libya on reports without any fact-finding mission, without visiting Libya, without allowing Libya to defend itself."
Clashes have escalated, with witnesses reporting aircraft dropped two bombs near al-Brega, home to oil and natural gas facilities, as Gadhafi addressed his supporters in Tripoli Wednesday. A military aircraft released a third bomb later.
Military aircraft also bombed military camps near Ajdabiya, a tribal leader said.
Tripoli is under Gadhafi's control, but opposition forces have control of the eastern city of Benghazi and other cities.
The U.N. refugee agency reported nearly 150,000 people fled Libya into Egypt and Tunisia, and thousands more were arriving at the borders.
The Dutch Defense Ministry said Thursday armed Gadhafi loyalists captured three Dutch naval personnel during a failed evacuation operation Sunday, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported. The incident was not revealed until Thursday for security reasons, Dutch government officials said.
The soldiers were captured when their helicopter landed to pick up two evacuees in Sirte, Gadhafi's birthplace. The two would-be evacuees, a Dutch man and another European of unspecified nationality, were handed over to the Dutch Embassy and have since left the country, Radio Netherlands Worldwide said.
Dutch Defense Ministry spokesman Otto Beeksma said negotiations were still taking place to free the three soldiers. He said the ministry has contacted the soldiers, who were doing well.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the safety of the soldiers was paramount.
"They were deployed at high personal risk," Rutte said. "The least we can do is to do everything to ensure that if people get in trouble that they are brought to safety again."