BREAKING: Qaddafi’s Days, Perhaps Hours, “Numbered” (UPDATES)
UPDATE, 21:30 CST, Aug. 23
The BBC reports that Col Muammar Gaddafi has vowed death or victory in the fight against “aggression.”
Some excerpts from the report:
Pro-Gaddafi al-Urubah TV said the colonel – whose whereabouts remain unknown – made an audio speech, saying the retreat from the Bab al-Aziziya compound was a “tactical move”.
The compound was one of the final areas under Col Gaddafi’s control in Tripoli.
TV footage also showed fighters breaking the head off a statue of the Libyan leader and kicking it along the ground after capturing Bab al-Aziziya on Tuesday. They also seized items from Col Gaddafi’s home.
However, there are still pockets of resistance in the capital, including the Abu Salim and al-Hadba districts, and near the Hotel Rixos, where many foreign journalists are staying.
Speaking on a local Tripoli radio station on Wednesday, Col Gaddafi pledged “martyrdom or victory” in the fight against Nato and the Libyan rebels, al-Urubah said.
Col Gaddafi also said that his compound was destroyed by 64 Nato air strikes.
It is unclear if any members of the Gaddafi family are still here. I suspect they are not, because it is the one place they know the people of Tripoli would tear to shreds.
Al-Urubah also broadcast what it said was a live telephone interview with government spokesman Musa Ibrahim.
He said Libya would be turned into a “burning volcano and a fire under the feet of the invaders”.
The spokesman also said that 6,000 volunteers had arrived to Libya to fight for Col Gaddafi.
The claim has not been independently verified.
Read more here
UPDATE, 12:50 CST
CNN has a reporter inside the Qadaffi compound. Amazing, historical sights
All on your CNN Channel Now
UPDATE, 12:00 CST, Aug 23
The BBC reports:
Libyan rebels have taken over Col Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli, one of the final areas under the Libyan leader’s control.
TV footage showed fighters destroying statues and firing guns into the air in celebration inside the compound.
Rebel commanders targeted the buildings as they have served as a symbol of Col Gaddafi’s rule.
It is not known if the colonel or any members of his family are in the Bab al-Aziziya compound.
Heavily armed fighters had streamed into the capital on Tuesday morning in dozens of pick-up trucks to take part in the attack.
Read more here
UPDATE 22:00 CST Aug. 22
BBC Reports that one of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam, has reappeared:
One of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam, has appeared in Tripoli and claimed the government had “broken the backbone” of the rebel offensive there.
He turned up in a government vehicle at a hotel held by loyalists, a day after the rebels said they had detained him.
A BBC correspondent said Saif al-Islam seemed confident and full of adrenalin.
On Monday the rebels met strong resistance from pro-Gaddafi forces as they continued their push. Both sides say they control most of Tripoli.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi turned up at Hotel Rixos in the early hours of Tuesday.
Continue reading the main story here
UPDATES, 11:50 CST, Aug. 22
Updates from the Huffington Post:
Today 11:40 AM Journalists Trapped In Hotel
“No one has left the hotel today,” said Missy Ryan, a correspondent for Reuters. “We all want to go downtown to report on what’s happening but it’s not safe.” Snipers were positioned outside the hotel, she added.
The hotel is close to the Gaddafi regime’s sprawling Bab al-Aziziya compound, which is likely to see the last stand of loyalist fighters in the coming days and reportedly the scene of heavy fighting.
Today 11:07 AM International Recognition
Over 30 countries now recognized the National Transitional Council as the legitimate body representing the Libyan people.
Today 10:19 AM No American Boots On The Ground
@ Reuters : Any post-Gaddafi mission not expected to involve U.S. boots on ground. – Pentagon spokesman
Today 10:10 AM Berlusconi Will Meet Rebel Leadership
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi urged Gaddafi to end “all useless resistance,” Reutersreports. Berlusconi also called on the rebels to avoid reprisals.
Italy announced Berlusconi will meet the rebel leadership in Italy in the coming days.
Today 9:56 AM Gaddafi’s Son Reportedly Captured
@ BreakingNews : Gadhafi’s son Saadi captured by rebels – Al Arabiya TV citing head of National Transitional Council via Reuters
Today 9:49 AM Egypt Recognizes The National Transitional Council
@ FRANCE24 : The Egyptian foreign minister has told that the country now recognises the National Transitional Council
Today 9:30 AM Fighting Near The Tunisian Border
@Al Arabiya: Fierce fighting between Libya rebels and Qaddafi forces in Bokmash near the Tunisian border
Today 9:07 AM ‘Gaddafi Is Gone, Now It’s Your Turn Bashar’
The Associated Press reports thousands of protesters across Syria called for Syrian president Assad’s resignation. Protesters were heard shouting ‘Gaddafi is gone, now it’s your turn Bashar.’
Today 8:54 AM Libyan State TV Off Air
@Reuters: Libyan State TV is off air, rebel spokesman says state TV HQ is now under rebel control
Today 8:48 AM Heavy Fighting In Zlitan
Chris Stephen reports for The Guardian from Misrata that heavy fighting between government forces and rebels is taking place in Zlitan, 80 miles from Tripoli. Read his report here.
Today 8:40 AM Libyan Embassies Attacked
The Daily Mail reports Libyan embassies around the world came under attack.
Today 8:03 AM More Quotes From Mustafa Abdel Jali
He says his role will continue: “My role after the fall of Gaddafi will continue, unless I lose control of the aspirations and goals. I expect the youths of Libya and the revolutionaries will be up to the responsibility.”
And Gaddafi will be given a fair trial: “but I have no idea how he will defend himself against the crimes he has committed against the Libyan people and the world”.
Today 7:57 AM A Sign Of Stability? BP Want To Return To Libya ‘As Soon As Conditions Allow’, The WSJ Reports
BP PLC said Monday it is committed to returning to Libya and continuing its oil and gas exploration program in the country as “soon as conditions allow,” as rebel forces strengthen their position in the capital Tripoli.
Today 7:54 AM The Leader Of Libya’s National Transitional Council Is Giving A Press Conference In Benghazi
Mustafa Abdul Jalil declares Gaddafi rule over: “God has chosen that Gaddafi end should be at the hands of these youth, so that they may join the Arab uprising. I declare that Gaddafi’s rule is at end”. He also urges Libyans to treat prisoners of war “well and kindly”.
He confirms Colonel Gaddafi’s sons Muhammad and Saif al Islam are in custody and says there are somewhere safe, however the rebels do not know where Colonel Gaddafi is and do not yet have full control of Tripoli
UPDATE, Aug. 22, 7:30 CST
Heavy fighting is taking place in Tripoli around the compound of embattled Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi after rebels seized control of much of the city on Sunday.
Throughout the night, jubilant crowds remained in central Green Square, previously the scene of nightly pro-Gaddafi demonstrations.
Rebels met little resistance as they swept in from east, south and west.
There is no word of Col Gaddafi’s whereabouts, but the rebels claim to have captured his son Saif al-Islam.
Tanks emerged from Col Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azizia compound early on Monday morning and began firing, a rebel spokesman said.
There is very much a sense that the end is near and the rebels have achieved what they wanted, our correspondent says.
In Green Square – which is to return to its pre-Gaddafi name of Martyrs’ Square – rebel supporters tore down the green flags of the Libyan government and trampled on portraits of Colonel Gaddafi.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is cutting short his holiday to chair a meeting of the National Security Council, said it was clear “that the end is near for Gaddafi”.
Mr Cameron said the Libyan leader had “committed appalling crimes against the people of Libya and he must go now to avoid any further suffering for his own people”.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is negotiating the transfer of Saif al-Islam on charges of war crimes. The court is also seeking the arrest of Col Gaddafi and the head of the Libyan intelligence service, Abdullah al-Sanussi.
A diplomatic source told the AFP news agency that Col Gaddafi could still be in Bab al-Azizia. He has not been seen in public since May, although he has broadcast audio messages from undisclosed locations.
The rebel administration, the National Transitional Council (NTC), has announced it will move its centre of operations to Tripoli from the eastern city of Benghazi, which has been in rebel hands since the early days of the uprising.
Cameron: ‘Gaddafi’s regime in full retreat’
Prime Minister David Cameron says at least two of Gaddafi’s sons have been captured and most of Tripoli is now controlled by rebels
Rebels have captured Saif al-Islam, Saadi and Mohammed Gaddafi, three of Col Gaddafi’s loyal sons
Part of British Prime Minister’s statement on Libya::
“I have just come from chairing a meeting of the National Security Council on the situation in Libya.
“The latest information is that the vast majority of Tripoli is now controlled by free Libyan fighters, although fighting continues – and some of it is extremely fierce.
“We have no confirmation of Gaddafi’s whereabouts, but at least two of Gaddafi’s sons have been detained.
“His regime is falling apart and in full retreat.
“Gaddafi must stop fighting, without conditions – and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya.
UPDATE, 22:00 CST:
The Washington Post reports on statements by President Obama:
In a statement released Sunday night, after a day of fast-paced changes coming from Tripoli, the president said the momentum against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi had “reached a tipping point.”
“The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all.”
Read more here.
The Washington Post has just reported:
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s four decade rule over Libya was crumbling at breakneck speed on Sunday as rebel leaders claimed Gaddafi’s compound was surrounded, that his son Saif al-Islam had been captured and his presidential guard had surrendered.
Late Sunday, opposition fighters were battling loyalist fighters for control of the symbolically significant Green Square in the heart of the city, previously the scene of near-daily pro-Gaddafi rallies, according to one Tripoli based rebel, as the sound of explosions, gunfire and cries of “God is great” echoed down the telephone line.
Another activist said rebels had secured the seaport, where several hundred rebel reinforcements had arrived by boat, and were also in the process of evicting Gaddafi loyalists from the Mitiga airbase on the eastern edge of the city.
Read more here.
As those who have been watching or listening to the latest news reports know, the Libyan rebels have now entered the capital, Tripoli, and street-to-street fighting has erupted.
The New York Times reports that insurgents have arrested Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s son and heir apparent.
The report continues:
While that could not be confirmed, the rebels raced through part of the capital city with apparent ease, and NATO and American official made clear that they expected that control of Tripoli, which had been the final stronghold of the longtime Libyan leader, was now in doubt.
The BBC reports:
A convoy of Libyan rebels has rolled into Tripoli past celebrating crowds after a day of heavy fighting in and around the capital.
They appeared to meet little resistance and civilians emerged to cheer them, waving flags and firing celebratory shots as they passed in their pick-ups.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement, “Clearly the offensive for Tripoli is underway…Qaddafi’s days are numbered” and urged the rebel leadership to prepare for a transfer of power and “maintain broad outreach across all segments of Libyan society and to plan for a post-Qaddafi Libya.”
I personally feel and hope that Qaddafi’s hours are numbered, but also hope that the rebels will show the residents of Tripoli the mercy Qaddafi and his troops never showed the rebels or the Libyan people.
UPDATE: CNN’s report:
CBS reports on “a day of rapid developments:”
NBC: Celebrations begin in Tripoli:
Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera reports:
Tripoli witness talks to Al Jazeera:
Gadaffi urges residents to take up arms: