News / Africa

Libyan Opposition Ratchets Up Gadhafi Search

Libyan rebels patrol to try to find any of Moammar Gadhafi's relatives in Tripoli, Libya, August 24, 2011
Libyan rebels patrol to try to find any of Moammar Gadhafi's relatives in Tripoli, Libya, August 24, 2011

Libyan opposition fighters are advancing toward Moammar Gadhafi's hometown, Sirte, and pouring into Tripoli to help battle the remnants of his forces in the capital.

Pro-Gadhafi forces have been massing for a showdown in Sirte, which is about 400 kilometers east of Tripoli.

Sirte, Libya


Gadhafi's whereabouts are unknown, but U.S. officials believe he is still in Libya. Britain says NATO is helping rebels in their hunt for Gadhafi and members of his regime. British Defense Minister Liam Fox told Britain's Sky News on Thursday that NATO is providing the rebels with intelligence and reconnaissance equipment to aid in their search.

In a separate development, the head of the opposition's Transitional National Council (TNC) called for "urgent" financial help on Thursday.  TNC leader Mahmoud Jabril said the money is needed to pay the salaries of Libyans and deliver basic services to civilians.

He made the plea during a news conference in Milan with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who said his country was ready to unfreeze up to $505 million in Libyan assets.

The TNC has begun moving some of its ministries from rebel-held Benghazi to Tripoli. The group's leaders say that elections will be held in eight months.

Wednesday, the TNC said it supports a decision by Libyan businessmen to provide a $1.67 million reward in an attempt to speed up Mr. Gadhafi's capture.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration says a ship sent to rescue foreigners from Tripoli has been able to dock, after concerns about the security situation in the city kept the vessel off shore for days.  A spokeswoman said the group is optimistic it will be able to carry out the evacuations Thursday and that another ship is on its way to the city.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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