Qaddafi Forces Strike Again at Libya Rebels as Leader Blames Unrest on Bin Laden

Posted by BBC News on Feb 24th, 2011 and filed under Latest News Update. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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Latest News Update: Qaddafi Forces Strike Again at Libya Rebels as Leader Blames Unrest on bin Laden

Libyan ProtestersBENGHAZI, Libya (BBC News Blog) — Army models and militiamen loyal to Muammar al-Qaddafi struck again towards rebellious Libyans who’ve risen up in metropolitan areas near for the funds Thursday, attacking a mosque exactly where several had been keeping an anti-government sit-in and battling with other people who had seized handle of an airport. A physician in the mosque mentioned ten individuals had been killed.

Qaddafi accused Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden of becoming behind the uprising in Libya, inside a rambling telephone simply call to state Television. The Libyan leader stated the additional than week-long revolt continues to be carried out by younger guys hopped up on hallucinogenic supplements provided to them “in their espresso with milk, like Nescafe.”

“Shame on you, people today of Zawiya, handle your young children,” he stated, addressing citizens from the town outdoors Tripoli exactly where the mosque assault took location. “They are loyal to bin Laden,” he stated of these concerned inside the uprising. What do you must do with bin Laden, individuals of Zawiya? They’re exploiting youthful individuals … I insist it’s bin Laden.”

The attacks Thursday aimed to push back again a revolt which has moved nearer to Qaddafi’s bastion inside the funds, Tripoli. The majority of the eastern fifty percent of Libya has currently damaged absent, and components of Qaddafi’s regime have frayed.

Inside the most recent blow for the Libyan leader, a cousin who’s 1 of his closest aides, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, introduced that he has defected to Egypt in protest from the regime’s bloody crackdown versus the uprising, denouncing what he known as “grave violations to human rights and human and global legal guidelines.”

In Zawiya, thirty miles (fifty kilometers) west of Tripoli, an army device attacked the city’ Souq Mosque, exactly where regime opponents had been camped for days inside a protest calling for Qaddafi’s ouster, a witness stated. The troopers opened fire with automated weapons and hit the mosque’s minaret with fire from an anti-aircraft gun, he mentioned. A number of the younger guys amongst the protesters, who had been inside of the mosque and inside a close by good deal, had hunting rifles for safety.

A physician at a area clinic setup in the mosque stated he noticed the bodies of ten dead, shot inside the head and chest, too as arond a hundred and fifty wounded.

The witness mentioned that each day before an envoy from Qaddafi had arrive for the town and warned protesters, “Either go away or you’ll see a massacre.” Zawiya is often a important metropolis close to an oil port and refineries.

Immediately after Thursday’s assault, hundreds massed in Zawiya’s most important Martyrs Square from the mosque, shouting “leave, go away,” in reference to Qaddafi, the witness mentioned. “People arrived to deliver a obvious concept: We’re not frightened of demise or your bullets,” he mentioned.

Another assault arrived at a smaller airport exterior Misrata, Libya’s 3rd biggest metropolis, exactly where rebel citizens claimed command Wednesday. Militiamen with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars barraged a line of them who had been guarding the airport, some armed with automated rifles and hunting rifles, mentioned 1 from the rebels who was concerned within the battle.

Throughout the fighting, the airport’s defenders seized an anti-aircraft gun utilised from the militias and turned it versus them, he stated.

A healthcare official at a army air base through the airport stated two people today had been killed within the fighting — 1 from each and every facet — and 5 had been wounded. He stated personnel in the base had sided together with the Misrata uprising and had disabled fighter jets there to stop them becoming employed towards rebellious populaces.

“Now Misrata is completely underneath manage with the folks, but we’re anxious due to the fact we squeezed in between Sirte and Tripoli, that are strongholds of Qaddafi,” he stated. Sirte, a middle for Qaddafi’s tribes, lies towards the southeast of Misrata.

The militias pulled back again inside the late early morning. In Misrata, the neighborhood radio — managed from the opposition such as the relaxation from the town — known as on citizens to march towards the airport to reinforce it, stated a lady who lives in downtown Misrata.

Inside the afternoon, it appeared fighting erupted once more, she mentioned, reporting large booms in the path from the airport in the edge with the town, situated about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli.

The witnesses about Libya spoke on problem of anonymity for worry of reprisals.

Qaddafi’s crackdown has to date assisted him preserve handle of Tripoli, a town that retains about a 3rd of Libya’s six million population. However the uprising has divided the nation and threatened to push it towards civil war: In metropolitan areas throughout the east, citizens rose up and overcome govt buildings and army bases, joined in a lot of circumstances by neighborhood army models that defected. In these metropolitan areas, tribal leaders, citizens and army officers have shaped regional administrations, passing out weapons looted through the protection forces’ arsenals.

The leader’s cousin, Gadhaf al-Dam, is among the most superior stage defections to hit the regime thus far, following quite a few ambassadors all over the world, the justice minister plus the inside minister all sided with all the protesters.

Gadhaf al-Dam belonged to Qaddafi’s interior circle, formally his liaison with Egypt, but he also served as Qaddafi’s envoy to other globe leaders and often appeared by his aspect.

Inside a assertion issued in Cairo on Thursday, Gadhaf al-Dam stated he had left Libya for Egypt “in protest and also to present disagreement” together with the crackdown.

Qaddafi’s handle now continues to be decreased towards the northwest corner about Tripoli, the southwest deserts and elements from the middle. The uprisings in Misrata, Zawiya and numerous smaller towns amongst the cash and Tunisian border have additional whittled absent at that bastion.

The Zawiya resident stated that till Thursday’s assault, Qaddafi opponents held complete sway within the town following police fled days before. Citizens had organized nearby watchgroups to guard govt buildings and houses.

The cash, Tripoli, noticed an outbreak of significant protests from Qaddafi’s rule previously this week, met with attacks by militiamen that reportedly left dozens dead.

Pro-Qaddafi militiamen — a blend of Libyans and foreign mercenaries — have clamped down about the metropolis given that the Libyan leader went on state Television Tuesday evening and referred to as on his supporters to consider back again the streets. Citizens say militiamen roam Tripoli’s most important avenues, firing the air, even though neighborhood view teams have barricaded aspect streets attempting to maintain the fighters out and protesters lay minimal.

In the very same time, normal protection forces have released raids on houses about the town. A resident within the Ben Ashour neighborhood stated many SUVs filled with armed guys swept into his district Wednesday evening, broke into his neighbor’s house and dragged out a loved ones buddy as females within the home screamed. He stated other comparable raids had used location on Thursday in other districts.

“Now will be the time of magic formula terror and solution arrests. They’re heading to go property to property and liquidate opponents that way, and impose his (Qaddafi’s) command on Tripoli,” mentioned the witness.

One more Tripoli resident stated armed militiamen had entered a hospital, looking for protesters amongst the injured. He stated a friend’s relative becoming handled there escaped only since medical doctors hid him.

Worldwide momentum continues to be developing for motion to punish Qaddafi’s regime for that bloodshed.

President Barack Obama mentioned the struggling in Libya “is outrageous and it really is unacceptable,” and he directed his administration to organize a total selection of alternatives, which includes achievable sanctions that can freeze the property and ban journey for the U.S. by Libyan officials.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy elevated the chance with the European Union cutting off financial ties.

A different proposal attaining some traction was for your United Nations to declare a no-fly zone more than Libya to stop it utilizing warplanes to hit protesters. U.N. Superior Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated that if studies of like strikes are confirmed, “there’s an instant need to have for that degree of safety.”

Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini mentioned estimates of some 1,000 persons killed inside the violence in Libya had been “credible,” while he stressed data about casualties was incomplete. The brand new York-based Human Rights Look at has place the demise toll at practically 300, based on a partial count.

Qaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam claimed Thursday the documented demise tolls are already exaggerated, despite the fact that he did not present his personal figure. Inside a press convention aired on state Television, he stated the quantity killed by police as well as the army had been restricted and “talking about hundreds and 1000′s (killed) is really a joke.”

He also mentioned a committee had been shaped to research alleged foreign involvement inside the protests.

Previously Thursday, Libyan Television confirmed Egyptian passports, CDs and mobile phones purportedly belonging to detainees who had allegedly confessed to plotting “terrorist” operations versus the Libyan men and women. Other footage confirmed a dozen males lying in the floor, with their faces down, blindfolded and handcuffed. Rifles and guns had been laid out subsequent to them.

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