TRIPOLI (AFP/Reuters) - Western forces lost their first warplane as they pounded strongholds of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi into a fourth day, while doubts grew Tuesday over where the campaign is leading. The US Africa Command in the German city of Stuttgart said a US F-15 jet crashed in rebel-held eastern Libya late Monday following a malfunction. Its two crew members ejected and were safe. Command spokeswoman Nicole Dalrymple told AFP that the crew had sustained minor injuries and that one had been recovered while an operation to pick up the second was ongoing. She said the aircraft was taking part in a raid to neutralise Libyan anti-aircraft defences but the crash was not a result of hostile action. US officials said the attacks should diminish after the success of the first strikes but the UN-mandated no-fly zone would be widened. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, said significant military action in Libya should recede within days, while his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov called for an immediate ceasefire and the start of political negotiations. China also accused the West of causing civilian casualties in Libya through UN-authorised air strikes and called for an immediate ceasefire in the war-torn North African nation. The purpose of the UN Security Council resolution is to protect the safety of civilians, but the military actions taken by certain relevant countries are causing civilian casualties, foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. General Carter Ham, the head of the US Africa Command, told reporters on Monday that the focus would now be on extending the no-fly zone. The extension of the no-fly zone ... essentially across the coastal part of the country, almost from boundary to boundary, will enable us to have a greater freedom of movement, Ham said. My sense is that unless something unusual or unexpected happens, we may see a decline in the frequency of attacks ... because thats the nature of the types of targets. Fighting continued on the ground however, as the rebels battling Gaddafis forces for more than a month said they were under intense attack in their enclave of Misrata near Tripoli. But a standoff persisted in eastern Libya, where Gaddafi forces in and around Ajdabiya, south of the insurgents capital of Benghazi, easily repulsed attempts by the disorganised and ill-armed rebels to advance against them. Ham said that US forces had no mission to support a ground offensive by the rebels, but at the same time Gaddafis troops show little will or capability to resume offensive operations. There is coordination but no unified command, and moves to hand over control of the operation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are dividing the alliance. And while US President Barack Obama said Monday Washingtons ultimate goal was the departure of Gaddafi, British Prime Minister David Cameron said there was no legal authority for regime change in Libya. Obama said the US will cede control of the air assault in days, even as divisions in Europe fueled speculation that Washington would be forced to continue leadership of air patrols to replace the initial bombardment. We anticipate this transition to take place in a matter of days and not in a matter of weeks, Obama, facing questions at home about the US military getting bogged down in a third Muslim country, told a news conference on a visit to Chile. As darkness fell over Tripoli Monday, loud explosions and anti-aircraft fire ripped across the night sky near Gaddafis residence, and Libyan state television said the capital had come under attack. Witnesses said a Libyan navy base some 10 km east of the capital was also bombarded early Tuesday. Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told a Tripoli news conference coalition warplanes had targeted the southern town of Sebha, bastion of Gaddafis Guededfa tribe and home to an important military base. He did not indicate if any damage or casualties had resulted. Ibrahim also claimed that Misrata, Libyas third city 214 km east of Tripoli, was liberated three days ago and that Gaddafis forces were hunting terrorist elements. But a rebel spokesman reached by telephone in Misrata insisted the insurgents remained in control despite an onslaught by Gaddafi loyalists, who he said opened fire with tanks and set snipers on roofs to gun down people in the streets. The spokesman said five people, four of them children, had been killed Tuesday, a day after a medic in the city confirmed a death toll of 40 and said at least 300 people had been wounded. Al Jazeera news network said Gaddafi forces were trying to seize the western rebel-held town of Zintan near the Tunisian border in an attack using heavy weapons. Residents had already fled the town center to seek shelter in mountain caves. Fighting also erupted in Yafran, southwest of Tripoli, on Monday and Tuesday between Libyan loyalists and the rebels who control the area, killing at least nine people, residents said by telephone. Libyan state television reported that several sites in Tripoli had been subject to new attacks by what it called the crusader enemy. These attacks are not going to scare the Libyan people, the television station said. Anti-aircraft gunfire rang out throughout the night and pro-Gaddafi slogans echoed around the city centre. Cars sped through Tripoli streets honking wildly. Al Jazeera television said radar installations at two air defense bases in eastern Libya had been hit. A Libyan government spokesman also said that foreign attacks had killed many people by bombing ports and Sirte airport. You saw that place (Sirte airport), Mussa Ibrahim told a news conference. Its a civilian airport. It was bombarded and many people were killed. Harbors were also bombarded. These reports could not be independently verified. The United States and its allies have run into some criticism for the intensity of the firepower unleashed on Libya, including more than 110 Tomahawk missiles on Saturday. The next step is to patrol the skies to enforce the no-fly zone. Nato officials resumed talks in Brussels on Tuesday after failing to reach agreement at heated talks on Monday. Some allies were now questioning whether a no-fly zone was necessary, given the damage already done by air strikes to Gaddafis military capabilities, a Nato diplomat said. Yesterdays meeting became a little bit emotional, the Nato envoy said, adding that France had argued that the coalition led by France, Britain and the United States should retain political control of the mission, with Nato providing operational support, including command-and-control capabilities. Others are saying Nato should have command or no role at all and that it doesnt make sense for Nato to play a subsidiary role, the diplomat said. Underlining the differences in the anti-Gaddafi coalition, Italys Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said if agreement was not reached on a Nato command, Italy would resume control of the seven airbases it has made available to allied air forces. A Nato role would require political support from all the 28 states. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, whose country is a Nato member, said on Tuesday that the United Nations should be the umbrella for a solely humanitarian operation in Libya. In a speech in parliament Erdogan said: Turkey will never ever be a side pointing weapons at the Libyan people. France also has doubts about the impact on Arab countries of Nato taking control - though the Arab League has backed the no-fly zone - while Germany refused to vote for UN resolution 1973. Norway said Monday its six fighter jets would stay grounded as long as it was unclear who was running the operations, while Britain, the United States and Italy, whose air bases are the main platform for missions to Libya, are pushing the strongest for a Nato role. Belgian and Spanish warplanes began patrolling Libyan skies on Monday, British Typhoon fighters launched their first missions from an Italian base and France said its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle should join the operation from Tuesday. Rifts are also growing in the world community over the UN resolution, with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin comparing the mandate to a call for medieval crusades. China and Brazil urged a cease-fire amid fears of civilian casualties.