News / Africa

NATO Vows to Keep Pressure on Gadhafi Remnants

Rebel fighters walk inside Bab Al Azaziya compound in Tripoli August 26, 2011
Rebel fighters walk inside Bab Al Azaziya compound in Tripoli August 26, 2011
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As business got moving in Libya’s capital Tripoli under rebel control, NATO vowed to continue bombing holdouts of the Gadhafi government in other parts of the country.

In Tripoli, the activities of everyday life are increasing. People flock to banks to get cash. On the streets, checkpoints are disappearing. In the port, more and more ships are coming and going.

Libyan rebels rest in the shade of a tree as they gather in the al-Noflea area, near Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, August 29, 2011
Libyan rebels rest in the shade of a tree as they gather in the al-Noflea area, near Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, August 29, 2011

But pockets of resistance to the revolution continue in this vast nation, almost three times the size of the U.S. state of Texas.

On Tuesday, NATO vowed to keep up bombing pressure against pro-Gadhafi forces in Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte.

Colonel Roland Lavoie, NATO’s military spokesperson for Libya, says warplanes were targeting multiple-rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns of Gadhafi loyalists:

“As recently as yesterday, our aircraft struck several surface-to-air threats and multiple military vehicles in the area of Sirte, which is considered the last bastion of the Gadhafi regime,” said Lavoie.

He says NATO also is monitoring Tripoli's newly opened food and fuel lifeline  - the coastal road west to Tunisia. Snipers have attacked convoys going down the highway, normally a two hour drive.

Col. Lavoie says NATO air reconnaissance and bombing attacks....

“Will remain critically important until the Libyan civilian population is no longer under threat from the former regime,” Lavoie added.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of Libya's Transitional National Council, warns Gadhafi loyalists that they have three days to surrender. He says military action will be suspended during Eid al-Fitr. These Muslim festivities marking the end of Ramadan start here on Wednesday.

Jalil says he cannot confirm a press report that Moammar Gadhafi has escaped south, to the Sahara oasis town of Sabha. He denounces as an “enemy” action, Algeria’s decision Monday to give refuge to three children of the long-time leader.

Khamal Mohammed Torof, a 23-year old electrical engineering graduate, says Mr. Gadhafi’s sons should be tried in Libya.

“Like Hannibal, Khamis, Moatessem, Saadi - they killed many people here,” said Torof.

With Libya’s long-running leader a fugitive, rebels say it is only a matter of time before his loyal followers surrender.

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James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

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