NATO giving rebels intelligence in Gadhafi hunt
Updated: 2011-08-25 07:11
According to French magazine Paris Match, Gadhafi was almost captured yesterday in Tripoli, as he was hiding inside a house, France 24 reports.
Supplies of food, water and medical supplies are quickly running out in Tripoli, Al Jazeera's Sue Turton reports. Shops have been shuttered for several days and residents have taken up arms to police their streets from looters, she adds.
NATO says it carried out 48 sorties in Libya yesterday, BBC reports. They attacked targets around Tripoli, Sirte, Okba and Bani Walid. In Tripoli, it says it hit two anti-aircraft guns and a multiple rocket launcher among other things. At Sirte, surface-to-surface missile support vehicles. At Okba, one surface-to-air-missile. And at Bani Walid, an anti-tank rifle.
American writer Matthew VanDyke was among the thousands of people who escaped from the notorious Abu Salim prison in Libya yesterday. His mother tells CNN he feared he was about to be executed after six months in isolation. The 32-year-old from Baltimore had not been heard from since mid-March, shortly before he was arrested in the city of Brega by forces loyal to Muammar Gadhafi. The freelance journalist borrowed a phone in Tripoli to tell girlfriend Lauren Fischer and mother Sharon VanDyke the news.
Looting has broken out in Tripoli, Rasmus Tantholdt, a reporter at Denmark's TV2, claims on Twitter.
Journalists in Libya are trying to make their way to the Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte where there are reports of heavy fighting. One of them, BBC producer Jonny Hallam, tweets: "I saw 18 rebel tanks, 9 Grad rocket launchers and heard a very big sounding recoil canon I couldn't see."
Rebel forces trying to approach the Gadhafi stronghold of Sirte have been pushed back by around 20 km due heavy artillery shelling from forces loyal to the embattled leader, Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler reports.
UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox has urged South Africa to think again about refusing to recognize the NTC as Libya's legitimate government. "I think there will be huge moral pressure on South Africa," he told the BBC. "They wanted the world at one point to stand with them against apartheid. I think they now need to stand with the Libyan people." Earlier, South Africa Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said the International Criminal Court should probe human rights violations by NATO in Libya.
Muammar Gadhafi will try to sell some of Libya's gold reserves to pay for his protection and sow chaos among tribes in the country, according to his former central bank governor Farhat Bengdara in a Reuters report.
The BBC's John Simpson reports there have been some gruesome injuries caused by rebels firing shots into the air. "What goes up, must come down," he says.
A number of journalists reporting from Tripoli say the city is relatively quiet right now. CNN's Libya Correspondent Sara Sidner tweets "from my vantage point Tripoli is quiet right now."
The funerals of 17 rebels executed as they tried to storm Gadhafi's Tripoli compound will take place later today, Al Jazeera's Sue Turton reports from Az Zawiyah.
Andrew Gilligan, from London's Telegraph reports that NATO were ready to storm the Rixos hotel in Tripoli where 35 foreign nationals were being held. They were released last night after being held hostage for five days.
UK Defense Secretary tells Sky News that NATO is providing intelligence & assets to help track down Gadhafi.
The pro-Gaddafi satellite TV channel Al-Urubah is back on air again after being shut down for around ten hours, BBC reports. This is the broadcaster which transmitted Col Gaddafi's last known speech.
The Misrata Military Council claim to have found 140 bodies in a Tripoli prison. They claim the prisoners were killed by grenades thrown into their cells. So far 13 bodies have been recovered, London's Telegraph reports.
Rebel forces are fighting near Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, reports Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler. The city is a Gadhafi stronghold and a reported hiding place for the Libyan leader. Rebels also claim Gadhafi loyalists have moved ammunition supplies to residential areas, he says.
NATO has begun high-level discussions on how to secure Libya's mustard gas supplies, A US administration official has told CNN.
A number of Thursdays UK newspapers are reporting British special forces are advising and training rebel soldiers in Libya. Reports also suggest the elite SAS regiment is spearheading the hunt for Col Gadhafi, although their presence is officially denied.
Rebel fighters from Misrata have found a large tank storage site next to the northeastern Tripoli military air base of Metiga, Reuters reports. Dozens of tanks were parked at the heavily damaged site, most seem unaffected by the attack.
More now on the four Italian journalists who have been kidnapped as they travelled down a highway to Tripoli. The Italian Foreign Ministry, says the four were stopped by a group of civilians on the highway between Zawiya, a town 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. They were handed over to military men, who are holding them in an apartment building between Bab al-Aziz-iya and the Rixos Hotel.
A British doctor in Tripoli, who identified himself only as Moez, has been speaking to the BBC about the grim medical situation in the capital. He said: "Right in front of me... a big truck has just turned up - and there are 20 bodies in the back of it, just thrown everywhere, with blood all over the place. They smell like they've been there at least a day or two."
Round-up of the most recent developments:
• The hunt for the Libyan leader has intensified after a bounty of $1.7 million was offered to kill or capture Colonel Gadhafi who remains on the run - four days after rebel forces entered Tripoli.
• Intense fighting continues across the capital as forces loyal to Colonel Gadhafi refuse to give up, but most of Tripoli appears to be in rebel hands.
• The capital's hospitals remain overwhelmed with "countless casualties" and bodies from the fighting.
• The international journalists and dignitaries trapped by Gaddafi loyalists inside the Rixos hotel have been released, but the situation for those covering the conflict in other parts of Libya is grave. Four Italian journalists working for Corriere della Sera, La Stampa and Avvenire have been kidnapped. Two French journalists have been shot and wounded.
The second in command of Libya's intelligence services and Muammar Gaddafi's health minister declared their allegiance to rebel forces during interviews aired on Al Arabiya television on Wednesday.
Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) will seek to have $5 billion in frozen assets released to jump-start the country's economy and provide vital relief to its citizens, a senior rebel leader said.
Libyan rebels fought a fierce battle with Muammar Gadhafi's top military commander at his farm in Tripoli on Wednesday, a rebel spokesman said in comments broadcast on Al Arabiya TV.
The UN Security Council met behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon upon the request from the Unites States to discuss whether to unfreeze 1.5 billion U.S. dollars Libyan assets.
Four Italian journalists have been taken hostage in conflict-torn Libya as they were travelling from Zawiya to the capital city of Tripoli, the Italian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Foreign ministers of the Arab League countries underlined here Wednesday the necessity to speed up actions for the stability, security and peace in Libya.
The contact group meeting due on September 1 is very important and the transition authority of Libya needs more aid, both in terms of security and economy, Libyan rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril said Wednesday besides French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a joint press conference in the Elysee Palace.
Libya's rebel troops Wednesday took control of the Mazraq al-Shams army base in Libya's port city of Zuara, some 60 km from the Tunisian border, the Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV reported.
Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who have been fighting to retake Tripoli, are firing at rebels inside the Bab al-Azizya compound and bombing other areas of the central capital, the pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV reported Wednesday.