Rebels Flood Gadhafi’s Compound

Posted on August 24, 2011

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LAUREN LINDER

The opposition invaded Moammar Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli Tuesday, strengthening their hold over Libya’s capital and reflecting signs of a fading dictatorship.

Gadhafi told state television that his departure from the compound was a “tactical move” and noted that the bastion was razed to the ground by 64 NATO airstrikes.

“We are resisting with all our strength….we will either win or become martyrs, God willing,” Gadhafi said.

After the dictator’s words were aired, Gadhafi government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said in a live interview on Al-Orouba TV that the regime can survive for months or years.

According to Ibrahim, the regime loyalists vacated Gadhafi’s compound because it “no longer served a military or strategic purpose.” He also noted that the loyalists seized four “high ranking” Qataris as well as one United Arab Emirates national.

To celebrate the compound’s destruction, some rebels ripped up images of Gadhafi, while others stood on top of a symbolic statue of a hand clasped to a U.S. fighter jet.

Courtesy of NY Times.

According to Al-Jazeera, pro-Gadhafi forces launched several scud missiles from Sirte late Tuesday. Loyalists also fired a scud Monday from Sirte toward Misrata in response to NATO airstrikes.

Out of the public eye for weeks and releasing few audio messages, Gadhafi remains hidden in an undisclosed location.

The U.S. believes Gadhafi hadn’t escaped Libya, assuming that he is probably hiding somewhere in the region of Tripoli.

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, one of Gadhafi’s sons, who was reported to have been seized by the rebels with his brothers Mohammed and Saadi, appeared late Monday night speaking to foreign journalists at the Rixos Hotel. He reported that his father was alive and safe. According to Al Jazeera, Mohammed succeeded in fleeing from the rebels.

Courtesy of NY Times.

Seif declared that Tripoli was under government control and ignorant of the fact that the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for him and his father.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian head of the World Chess Federation, communicated with Gadhafi Tuesday, saying that the leader is still in Tripoli and “wants to defend his country.”

The last time Gadhafi was seen in the public eye, following the start of the NATO airstrikes, was during Ilyumzhinov’s trip to Tripoli this summer, when they were filmed playing a game of chess on June 12.

“In Arabic language, Moammar Gadhafi said that now he is in his country,” Ilyumzhinov said during an interview with Associated Press Television News. “He doesn’t want to leave his homeland; he wants to defend his country, and he wants to thank all people in the world who support his small country, small nation who fights against countries from NATO. And after that he adds in English: Thank you very much!”

For the moment, NATO will not stop its air campaign unless all regime loyalists surrender. Late Monday, opposition sources told Al Arabiya, that NATO was bombing the Bab al-Aziziya compound.

According to NBC News, U.S. officials said Monday that the U.S. and NATO would continue their strikes until they find Gadhafi and his followers.

Courtesy of NY Times.

At least 40 targets in the Tripoli area have been hit by NATO strikes in the past two days, which is the most hits in one location since the bombing began over five months ago.

“The real moment of victory is when Gadhafi is captured,” Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, head of the rebels’ National Transitional Council, said at a news conference in Benghazi.

Rebel fighters would “turn over every stone to find him, to arrest him and to put him in the court,” Mahmud Nacua, a diplomatic representative for the opposition, said Monday.

Courtesy of AP.

President Obama made a statement Monday afternoon while on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

“The situation is still very fluid,” he said. “There remains a degree of uncertainty, and there are still regime elements who pose a threat. But this much is clear: The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.”

In his statement, the president mentioned that while the fighting has not stopped amongst an unpredictable battle, “the situation in Libya has reached a tipping point,” wherein the U.S. has maintained that they will help the rebels to rebuild the country so as “to ensure a peaceful transition.”

(Featured Image Courtesy of NY Times.)

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Posted in: Global