Sunday 21 October 2018

‘We have Gaddafi cornered in Tripoli building’: rebels

Libyan rebel fighters. Photo: Reuters reporters

LIBYAN rebels claimed this afternoon to have besieged an apartment block where they believe Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and some of his sons are hiding.

They have been exchanging fire with Col Gaddafi troops inside the buildings, near the central Bab al Aziziyah compound.

A fighter told Sky News:: "They are together. They are in a small hole. Today we will finish. Today we will end that."

Sky's Stuart Ramsay, in Tripoli, said he believed the apartment block was near the east side of the compound and was one of a number of similar buildings.

He said the firefight was "massive" with heavy resistance.

Ramsay also said there had been some instances of friendly fire.

The AP news agency has reported that around 1,000 rebels are taking part in the battle.

Earlier rebels were on the streets of Tripoli's today in a brutal battle with diehard gunmen loyal to ousted Colonel Muammar Gaddafi .

They said they were confident they could finish off the resistance of soldiers who are stubbornly fighting on.

Gaddafi is now on the run and said to be in hiding in the country he ruled for over four decades.

"The end will only come when he's captured, dead or alive," said Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who is head of the rebel National Transitional Council.

NATO is helping Libyan rebels hunting Muammar Gaddafi, according to British Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

He told Sky News: "I can confirm that Nato is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC [National Transitional Council] to help them track down Col Gaddafi and other remnants of the regime."

Dr Fox refused to comment on a report that the British army's SAS unit is leading the hunt for the dictator and his sons.

He spoke as it emerged that a $1.7m reward is on the table for anyone able to capture him.

The offer of two million Libyan dinars came as French president Nicolas Sarkozy called a conference in Paris next Thursday to discuss plans to rebuild the country.

The "friends of Libya" meeting will include representatives from the nations which took part in the offensive against Gaddafi's regime, as well as China, Russia, India and Brazil.

Soldiers from the elite 22 SAS Regiment are reported to be helping rebel fighters track down 69-year-old Gaddafi after his heavily-fortified compound in Tripoli was seized following fierce clashes with loyalists.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the SAS soldiers, dressed in Arab civilian clothing and armed with the same weapons as the locals, have been hunting for Gaddafi on the ground in Libya on the orders of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Sources told the newspaper the SAS had been operating in Libya for several weeks, but a Ministry of Defence spokesman said the department never commented on special forces operations.

- reporters

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