Comments Off on Libya: rebels surround apartment block ‘hiding’ Col Gaddafi

Libya: rebels surround apartment block ‘hiding’ Col Gaddafi

The net appeared to be closing on Muammar Gaddafi as rebels laid siege to a possible hideout and British intelligence sources said that the deposed leader was still in Tripoli.


Up to 1,000 opposition fighters surrounded an apartment block near Gaddafi’s former headquarters in the Libyan capital, where they exchanged fire with loyalists following unconfirmed reports that the despot was inside with some of his sons.

It also emerged that the rebels might have been only hours away from catching Gaddafi at another address in Tripoli where he is believed to have spent the night.

Gaddafi made yet another television broadcast to urge his remaining supporters to “purify” the capital of “rats”, while his spokesman taunted his enemies by saying the 69-year-old was safe, healthy and “leading the battle for our freedom”.

The first members of the de facto government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), arrived in Tripoli yesterday to begin setting up the institutions that will bring democracy to Libya.

But a large area of the capital remained a war zone as loyalist soldiers continued to put up stubborn resistance in a guerrilla battle that could go on for “weeks”, according to William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.

* Rebel fighters took charge of the miles of tunnels built by Gaddafi to link his fortified compound to other parts of Tripoli;

* Fears of a humanitarian crisis were eased by the discovery of immense stockpiles of food and medical supplies;

* Nato carried out air strikes on missile bases in Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte to prepare the ground for a rebel assault;

* The Arab League recognised the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya by granting it a permanent seat in its chamber.

Hopes that Gaddafi could be captured were raised when rebels became convinced that he and some of his sons were hiding in an apartment block a few hundred yards south of his seized headquarters at Bab al-Azizia. “They are together. They are in a little hole,” said Mouhammed Gomaa, one of the opposition fighters. “Today we finish. Today we will end that.”

Within hours, up to 1,000 rebels had surrounded the building, where loyalists continued to return fire, though there was no solid evidence that any members of the Gaddafi family were inside.

However, both MI6 and the Pentagon, who are using spy planes to intercept communications between loyalists, gave succour to the rebels by maintaining that Gaddafi had not left the capital.

“All the signs are that he is still in Tripoli,” said one Pentagon source, whose analysis was backed by British intelligence sources.

There were also unconfirmed reports that rebel fighters might have narrowly missed capturing Gaddafi at a private house in Tripoli.

The French magazine Paris Match claimed that the opposition, which has offered a £1 million reward for Gaddafi’s capture, had received a tip-off from a “credible source” giving the location of a safe house where the former leader was staying.

“Evidence pointing to the fact the tyrant had passed through was found,” the magazine reported.

A loyalist television channel broadcast a new recording of Gaddafi urging his supporters: “Don’t leave Tripoli for the rats. Fight them, fight them, and kill them.”

Gaddafi’s spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, who is also in hiding, said the former leader was still in Libya, his morale was high and he “is indeed leading the battle for our freedom and independence every day”.

He added: “All of the leader’s family are fine.”

Mr Hague said that Gaddafi should face justice but it was up to Libyans to decide what form it took.

While gun battles raged all day in a mile-wide corridor to the south of Gaddafi’s compound, the rebels prepared for an assault on Sirte, where RAF jets bombed military targets.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the NTC leader, said rebel forces advancing on Sirte were hoping to negotiate a surrender to avoid “more killings and more destruction”.

Filed in: World News

Share This Post

Recent Posts

© 3674 Daily-Tips.Net. All rights reserved.