Gaddafi hiding in hospitals to avoid air strikes
Published 27/05/2011 | 05:00
Muammar Gaddafi is "increasingly worried" that he will be killed by Nato and has taken to hiding in Libyan hospitals to avoid air strikes, intelligence reports suggest.
Diplomatic sources disclosed last night that recent intelligence suggested the Libyan dictator was "paranoid" and "on the run" from Nato's escalating attacks on his regime.
Hadeiba Hadi, Libya's ambassador to the European Union, said he was defecting along with all his staff. The envoy said he and his colleagues wanted "to place ourselves at the service of the Libyan people in the struggle for democracy".
In the latest move to step up the military pressure on Gaddafi, British Prime Minister David Cameron gave the final authorisation for attack helicopters to start flying into Libya.
Britain and France have this week intensified attacks on Tripoli and Gaddafi, who has not appeared in public for weeks, was said to be moving between different hospitals.
Nato publicly denies targeting Gaddafi, but at least one strike has been launched on a building where he was thought to be present.
Diplomats said the real risk of death was having a "psychological impact" on the dictator, whose officials signalled for the first time this week that he could be prepared to step down.
The diplomatic source said: "There's a consensus that we need to be turning the screw now and that's partly informed by our intelligence of what's going on the ground.
"One striking thing is that Gaddafi appears to be moving from hospital to hospital. What he is doing is moving from one place we won't bomb to another place we won't bomb." (© Daily Telegraph, London)