Video: Supporters mourn son of Gaddafi as fighting intensifies
Published 03/05/2011 | 05:00
ABOUT 2,000 of Col Muammar Gaddafi's supporters turned out for the funeral of the Libyan leader's youngest son in Tripoli yesterday as the regime intensified its attack on the besieged city of Misurata.
Gaddafi himself did not attend the funeral of Saif al-Arab, his second youngest son, who was killed in an allied air strike on Saturday night.
Two of his other sons, Saif al-Islam, who was seen as his father's intended successor, and Hannibal were in the crowd.
Some mourners fired weapons into the air. Others chanted "revenge for the martyrs" and carried placards reading "We are all with Gaddafi's Libya".
Three of Gaddafi's grandchildren were also buried.
Britain expelled Libya's London ambassador after Libyans carried out revenge attacks on British targets following what was described as an attempt to assassinate Gaddafi.
The British embassy in Tripoli was set alight and other Western buildings targeted.
The Libyan authorities claimed the attacks were carried out by angry crowds and not condoned by the authorities.
Following the attacks on the British and French embassies, Turkey, a NATO member which has invested heavily in Libya, announced that it was closing its embassy "due to the change in the security situation in Libya".
In Misurata, Gaddafi tanks that had escaped the NATO aerial bombardments emerged from the air base that had been the launch-pad for the regime's repeated assaults on the city.
Last week, after driving government forces from the city centre, rebels pledged to take on the air base, but it has proved too heavily defended. The tanks moved into western suburbs, despite an overflight by NATO jets, according to reports from the city, meeting resistance but establishing positions. Shellfire reverberated through the streets and there were a number of deaths and other casualties.
As of last night, NATO attacks had succeeded in halting the bombardment of the port city.
Government forces have been shelling the port for the past three days, halting the arrival of ships bringing aid and weapons from the main opposition forces in Benghazi to the east.
The renewed assault on Misurata will be a disappointment to Western leaders, who hoped that the rebels were making some headway.
With the front line now static in the east, there is little sign of any fatal weakness on the Gaddafi side.
Fighting has also continued in the west, where a border post with Tunisia has changed hands repeatedly in recent days.
However, Gaddafi forces have had little success subduing rebels in the towns of Zintan, Yafran and Nalut.
NATO forces attempted to alleviate the situation in Zintan yesterday by bombing regime forces.
China renewed calls for a ceasefire, urging NATO not to exceed the terms of the UN Security Council resolution that provided for military action to protect civilians. (© Daily Telegraph, London)