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Change in Tactics Key to Success, Says Libyan Opposition Official

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (April 2011 file photo)
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (April 2011 file photo)

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James Butty

A Libyan opposition official confirmed to VOA Seif al-Islam, one of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s sons, has been detained as rebel forces made their final push Sunday to take the capital, Tripoli.

Hadi Shalluf, founder and president of the Justice and Democracy Party of Libya, also attributed rebel success to a change in tactics.

“They [the rebels] came from the mountains to go to Zawiya and then they were very successful to take the western part of Tripoli and to the line between Tunisia and Tripoli.  That was a good strategy to come to Tripoli,” he said.

Libyan state television Sunday broadcast a series of defiant audio messages from Gadhafi.  In the latest one, the Libyan leader said he would stay in the capital "until the end" and called on supporters to help liberate it.

Shalluf said the opposition has heard various accounts that Mr. Gadhafi might not be in Tripoli.

“We are not sure that Gadhafi is in Libya now because there is some information we heard some days ago that he is in the south of Libya, and other information where they say he is on the border with Algeria,” Shalluf said.

Earlier, the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed that Seif al-Islam, the one-time heir apparent, was in detention.

He was indicted along with his father and Libya's intelligence chief on charges of crimes against humanity for allegedly planning and ordering illegal attacks on civilians in the early days of the violent crackdown on anti-government protests.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Sunday that Seif al-Islam should be surrendered to the Hague-based court as soon as possible.

Shalluf said the rebels will not rest until leader Moammar Gadhafi himself is captured.

“We are sure now because the chairman of the TNC [Transitional National Council] declared that Seif was arrested and then we are hoping that the other sons of Gadhafi will be arrested soon, and then Gadhafi himself we are hoping that he will be arrested as soon as possible, too,” Shalluf said.

Shalluf said the NATO bombing should continue until all of Libya comes under rebel control and Mr. Gadhafi has been captured.

“We will not stop the fighting against Gadhafi and his troops, and we would like to say ‘Thank you’ to NATO for all the help they are doing with us.  And then those people who are talking now for cease-fire, they are just lying because there’s no way to stop now because we are arriving in the center of Tripoli and we are ready to capture Gadhafi,” Shalluf said.

Shalluf rejected leader Gadhafi’s claims that the opposition forces are being led by elements of the al-Qaida terrorist organization.

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