AJDABIYA, Libya -- Two strong explosions struck the outskirts of Libya's capital on Wednesday as the rebel movement urged a stronger NATO-led air campaign on targets held by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, a witness said.
The witness, a resident of the capital, Tripoli, said the blasts apparently struck near the airport, where Qaddafi has military camps and forces encircling the capital.
"Over the past days, we didn't hear any explosions except for planes flying in the sky, but no raids," said the resident, who asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals by the government.
The explosions could be NATO airstrikes on targets held by Qaddafi.
Libyan rebels have been pleading for more NATO airstrikes as top Western and Arab envoys gather in Qatar's capital to discuss ways to end the Libyan crisis.
Mohamed Ismail Tajouri, a 54-year-old businessman who joined the rebels in their stronghold of Benghazi, said having a rebel delegation attend the Qatar meeting amounts to key international recognition.
"We are proud of this," he told The Associated Press. "This political development is really good for the rebels but the Qaddafi regime is not normal. He is a bloody creature, he won't leave until he spills some blood."
The meeting comes during a relative lull in fighting.
But Qaddafi's forces fired rockets along the eastern front line and shelled the besieged city of Misrata in recent days. International groups are warning of a dire humanitarian crisis in Misrata, Libya's third-largest city and the only city in western Libya that is still partially in the hands of rebels.
At Wednesday's meeting, a spokesman for Libyan rebels urged the U.S. military to reassert a stronger role in the NATO-led air campaign or risk more civilian casualties in the fighting between Qaddafi and forces seeking to end his four-decade rule.
The appeal by the spokesman, Mahmoud Shammam, appeared to set the urgent tone for the rebels' meetings with the U.N.'s secretary-general and other top envoys.
While peace efforts remain the top objective, there also appears to be a shift toward trying to boost the rebels' firepower to protect their territory from government offensives. One proposal noted by Italy -- Libya's former colonial ruler -- calls for allies providing defensive weapons.