Rebels Capture Tripoli Amid Claims That Gaddafi Has Run Away ‘Like A Coward’
Libya Falls To Rebel Forces
Rebel leaders have taken control of Tripoli and arrested Colonel Gaddafi’s sons Saif al-Islam and Mohammad. On a night of extraordinary developments in the Libyan capital, the rebels advanced through the city capturing the central Green Square as the regime crumbled.
In a symbolic move the rebels immediately began calling it Martyr’s Square, rejecting the colour so associated with Gaddafi’s despised regime. Thousands took to the streets to celebrate the rebels’ success, firing guns into the air, chanting loudly and destroying symbols of Gaddafi.
Many Tripoli residents received a text message from the rebel leadership saying: ‘God is Great. We congratulate the Libyan people on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.’ During their advance the rebels also confirmed that they had captured Gaddafi’s son Saif, and Gaddafi’s eldest son Mohammad said that he had been detained by rebels and was being kept under house arrest in Tripoli.
‘Gunmen surrounded my house and I am still at home and they are outside,’ he said by telephone from Tripoli.
‘They said they will guarantee my safety. They are besieging my house,’ he added.
Sidiq al-Kibir, the rebel leadership council’s representative for the capital Tripoli, confirmed the arrest, before leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, gave further details.
He said: ‘He is being kept in a secure place under close guard until he is handed over to the judiciary.’ The dictator’s personal security team were also reported to have been disarmed and surrendered. The leaders of the rebels had previously announced that they would allow Gaddafi to leave safely if he announced his departure.
In a move that was designed to avoid a bloodbath, rebel chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said the Libyan leader and his sons would be given a safe passage out of the country. The dictator’s personal security team were also reported to have been disarmed and surrendered. Mahmoud Shammam, the rebel minister of information, said that the unit commander ‘has joined the revolution and ordered his soldiers to drop their weapons.’
Gaddafi’s supporters insisted that thousands of fighters were ready to defend him to the death and warned that blood would run in the streets amid reports of heavy gunfire elsewhere in the city. During their advance on the city rebel forces were being pounded by rockets, anti-aircraft shells and mortars, and there were fears that with Nato unable to support them from the air at such close quarters there could be military and civilian deaths on a massive scale.
One official said: ‘What Nato can do is very limited if there is street-by-street fighting.’ Gaddafi had also placed snipers on tall buildings with orders to shoot ‘anything that moves’. At least 375 people were reported killed on both sides and more than 1,000 wounded. source – Daily Mail UK
|Print article||This entry was posted by NTEB News Desk on August 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm, and is filed under Arab Spring, Middle East. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
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