News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Seize Gadhafi Compound

Smoke rises above downtown Tripoli following fighting at Bab Al-Aziziya compound August 23, 2011
Smoke rises above downtown Tripoli following fighting at Bab Al-Aziziya compound August 23, 2011

Rebel fighters have seized Moammar Gadhafi's compound in the capital, Tripoli, and are celebrating what they consider a major victory over the Libyan leader and his loyalist troops.

The rebel fighters fought their way into Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound Tuesday despite heavy gunfire from pro-Gadhafi forces.  Hundreds of rebels could be seen firing their weapons in the air in celebration. Others waved flags and tore down posters of Gadhafi.

Black smoke filled the skyline while gunfire and explosions continued around the compound and several other parts of the city.

As rebels celebrate the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans from outside the capital are heading towards Tripoli. Mohammed al-Abdallah, an official with the opposition movement National Front of the Salvation of Libya, told VOA from the city of Misrata that he wanted to work to get Tripoli back to normal.

Listen to JulieAnn McKellogg's interview with Mohammed al-Abdallah

Awad al-Faituri, a businessman who just returned to Libya three days ago after spending 30 years working abroad, said celebrations also had erupted in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Listen to JulieAnn McKellogg's interview with Awad al-Faituri

As revelers take to the streets of Tripoli celebrating the overtaking of Moammar Gadhafi's compound in the capitol, some Libyans are celebrating from home until the violence subsides.  Talis Aghil, a 23-year-old Libyan activist, spoke to VOA on Skype from her home in Tripoli.  She has not left her home out of fear, but believes within a day she will be on the streets celebrating with her fellow Libyans.

Listen to JulieAnn McKellogg's interview with Talis Aghil

members of his inner circle were in the compound at the time, or the city of Tripoli.  U.S. officials in Washington said Tuesday they believe Gadhafi was still in Libya.

In New York, Libya's Deputy U.N. Ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told reporters he expects Tripoli to be completely liberated within the next 72 hours.

EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton said Tuesday the rebels' political leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, told her they have control of 80 percent of the Libyan capital.  

Meanwhile, Libyan rebels say they also have taken control of the eastern oil port of Ras Lanuf Tuesday.  The major oil port is east on the road to Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte.

A resident of Benghazi told VOA that residents of the rebel-stronghold were honking their horns and waving flags out of their cars in celebration.  He said he expected many more people to celebrate after Muslims broke their daily Ramadan fast in the evening.

A NATO spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, told reporters in Brussels that NATO's mission in Libya is not over, and that it will continue military operations until all attacks and threats of attacks against civilians have stopped.

NATO military spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie added that NATO forces are not specifically targeting Gadhafi, but that the alliance will strike "wherever is necessary" in Libya to protect civilians.

Gadhafi's whereabouts are unknown. But his son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, defiantly appeared in the city late Monday saying his father was still in Tripoli and that his government was still in control.

The rebels earlier claimed to have arrested Seif al-Islam, but he spoke to foreign journalists at the Gadhafi-controlled Rixos Hotel, then led a convoy of vehicles through loyalist areas, where television footage showed him pumping his fists in the air as supporters cheered him on.

The International Criminal Court on Tuesday disputed reports that it had earlier confirmed Seif al-Islam's detention, saying the court never received official word from the opposition Transitional National Council.

Senior rebel sources also said another of Gadhafi's sons - Mohammed - escaped house arrest Monday.  A third son apparently is still in detention.

Opposition council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Gadhafi will receive a fair trial if captured, and that the "real moment of victory" will be when he is taken into custody.

Jalil acknowledged that the rebels have yet to establish full control in Tripoli, where forces loyal to Gadhafi have battled rebels in scattered pockets.  

The International Organization for Migration said Tuesday the fighting in Tripoli has forced it to delay docking a ship to begin evacuating stranded migrants.  The group said the ship, which can carry 300 people, will remain off shore until the security situation improves.

In addition to parts of Tripoli, pro-government forces also control at least two major cities affiliated with his tribe - Sabha, to the south, and Sirte, some 450 kilometers east of the capital along the coast.  NATO says government forces fired three Scud missiles toward the city of Misrata, but no injuries were reported.

The rebels broke through Tripoli's outer defenses Sunday and reached the city's central Green Square, where thousands celebrated the opposition's arrival and tore down posters of Gadhafi. Until recently, the government had used the area for mass demonstrations in support of Gadhafi.

The rebel troops moved into central Tripoli with little resistance after capturing a key military base run by the government's elite Khamis Brigade and commanded by another of Gadhafi's sons.

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

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid