This is a continuation of and update to “Where is Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi?”
It now looks like it may be more than just “a few days” before the deposed dictator is caught or killed as the fighting moves to Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. [Note the spelling change for Gaddafi]
British Tornado jets fired precision-guided missiles at a large bunker in Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, officials have said.
The aircraft took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk on a long-range strike mission on Thursday night.
The Libyan rebels are building up their forces east of Sirte, in preparation for a major assault. They continue to face unexpectedly stiff resistance.
The bunker housed a command and control centre. There is no indication that Col Gaddafi was in Sirte, which is 250 miles (400km) east of Tripoli, or in the bunker itself at the time of the attack.
According to UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox: “It’s not a question of finding Gaddafi, it’s ensuring the regime does not have the capability to continue waging war against its own people…The attack that we launched on the bunker in Sirte last night was to make sure that there was no alternative command and control should the regime try to leave Tripoli.”
NATO warplanes also targeted 29 vehicles mounted with weapons near Sirte and bombed surface-to-air missile facilities near Tripoli, the alliance said at a daily briefing in Brussels, according to the BBC
There are also reports of hospitals being “overwhelmed” with casualties and “dozens of decomposing bodies …piled up at one hospital in the area… One room had 21 lying on stretchers, while 20 more were left in a courtyard. It was not clear who killed the men, or when they died.”
Also, reports by Amnesty International that it has evidence that both pro-Gaddafi forces and rebels abused detainees in their care:
Guards loyal to Col Gaddafi raped child detainees at Abu Salim prison, Amnesty said. It also accused rebels of beating prisoners, including a boy conscripted by Gaddafi forces who surrendered to the rebels at Bir Tirfas.
The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes visited a hospital in the Mitiga district of Tripoli which had received the bodies of 17 rebel fighters.
Doctors said the group had been prisoners of Gaddafi troops in Tripoli and were tortured and killed as the rebels seized the capital earlier this week.
Dr Hoez Zaitan, a British medic working at the hospital, said about half the bodies had bullet wounds to the back of the head while others had disfiguring injuries to their limbs and hands.
Read more here.
For a more recent report , “Horror scenes at Tripoli hospital,” read here.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.