Latest developments in Libya
Rebels overrun Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli Photo by: AFP/Getty Images
August 23rd, 2011
05:37 PM ET

Latest developments in Libya

By the CNN Wire Staff

The battle for Tripoli continued Tuesday, with the whereabouts of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi still not known. Here are the latest developments.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS:

- Mahmoud Jibril, a leader of the rebels' National Transitional Council, told reporters Tuesday that it was important to unify the country and begin a smooth transition immediately. "We're all Libyans and we're all sons of this nation," he said. "There is no need for any score settling."

- Jibril described rebels' entrance into Gadhafi's compound Tuesday as a significant symbolic step that "finalized" the rebels' victory, and he described Saif al-Islam Gadhafi's appearance at the Rixos Hotel as a "desperate," Hollywood-style "attempt to steal the revolution."

–Jibril said a meeting of international leaders Wednesday would focus on organizing aid for Libya. The meeting will include officials from the NTC, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Turkey, he said. The aid money would go toward paying salaries for Libyans and covering medical treatment for those injured in the fighting, he said.

- Bullets were fired into Moammar Gadhafi's compound Tuesday evening, and Libyan rebels told CNN it was coming from Gadhafi forces. A CNN team had to evacuate the compound after bullets came shooting nearby. People began to run and flee the area. The events came hours after rebels seized control of the compound.

- The convicted bomber of Pan Am Flight 103 would be "better off behind bars," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. The Libyan people and the opposition "will obviously have to look at this when they can. We will be in consultations with them. The Justice Department will have the lead." Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people. He was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 and flew back to Libya.

- President Obama received a briefing on Libya Tuesday morning from National Security Adviser John Brennan, a White House official said.‪

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED

- CNN's Matthew Chance says "there's a lot of gunfire around the perimeter of the hotel" where journalists have been huddled in Tripoli. "Some of the windows have been smashed by bullets" and "journalists that have been basically kept here under supposed government supervision have moved on to the upper floors of the hotel." Journalists have hung banners inside with "TV" written on them," Chance said. "We've got white flags. We have all put ourselves in one room without any windows to try and find a safe place."

- The war in Libya "is not over yet, although it's close," a senior NATO official said Tuesday. "We continue to watch for flare-ups from around the country, where there are still going to be pockets of resistance," the official said. "We are also watching the chemical weapons and Scud missiles to make sure they are not used in the endgame

- Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the head of the opposition's military council in Tripoli, told Al Jazeera TV network that weapons are being collected in Gadhafi's compound and will be moved to a safe area. Belhadj said he thinks there are pockets of fighting in Tripoli but said that "Gadhafi and his sons fled like rats. We haven't seen them, just traces of them."

- The United States is working with the United Nations to release $1- to $1.5- billion in U.S.-held frozen Libyan assets, State Department spokeswoman Victorica Nuland said Tuesday. She said they want to give the money to the National Transitional Council for humanitarian purposes and to "help it establish a secure, stable government."

- Residents in Tripoli are going into the Moammar Gadhafi compound - seized by rebels - and are taking items from there, CNN's Sara Sidner reported on Tuesday.

- An Al Jazeera journalist has been wounded inside the Moammar Gadhafi compound in Tripoli, the Arabic-language TV network reported on Tuesday. Details about the nature of the injury were not immediately available.

- Celebratory gunfire is ringing out across the Moammar Gadhafi compound in Tripoli Tuesday, Sidner reported from the scene.

- Aref Ali Nayed, Libya's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said Tuesday the rebel entry into Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli represents "a complete victory and we thank God for that."

- A "reliable affirmative" statement from Moammar Gadhafi is needed to underscore that "the days of his leadership are over," Nuland said Tuesday. Nuland said there was "no question that the Gadhafi regime has nearly collapsed."

- Sidner, inside the Moammar Gadhafi compound, said that from her vantage, "it's is safe to say there is no more fighting" there. She said buildings have been knocked down, buildings are on fire and there are injuries. It appears weapons and munitions from Gadhafi's forces were taken from the compound, she said.

- Neither Moammar Gadhafi nor his family members have been located by rebels inside the Libyan leader's compound, Sidner reported from inside Bab al-Aziziya.

- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the Libyan situation in a phone call, Sarkozy's office said Tuesday. They "believe that the end of Gadhafi's regime is henceforth inescapable and near," it said, but they "agreed to continue pursuing their military effort with the support of legitimate Libyan authorities so long as Gadhafi and his clan have not put down their weapons."

- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Tuesday that the United States is concerned about whether Gadhafi's military still has a stockpile of chemical weapons. "It's something we've been watching from the beginning of the conflict in Libya," she said. "We have not seen immediate cause for concern, but we will keep a close eye on that throughout."

- Moammar Gadhafi says he's "alive and well in Tripoli and not going to leave Libya," according to an Interfax report quoting Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the head of the World Chess Federation. Ilyumzhinov told the Russian news agency Tuesday he had a telephone conversation with Gadhafi and his son Mohammed. The information could not be independently confirmed.

- Iraq has recognized Libya's National Transitional Council "as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people," the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

- Libyan rebels control 85% of Tripoli, according to Mahmoud Shammam, minister of information for the National Transitional Council. "Tripoli is not under Gadhafi control anymore," a NATO military spokesman said Tuesday.

- Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound came under attack Tuesday, according to a rebel spokesman and opposition fighters in Tripoli. Rebel fighters managed to enter one of the gates at the compound, a rebel official told CNN. CNN's Matthew Chance, huddled in the basement of a Tripoli hotel, said in a tweet Tuesday that "artillery fire" is occurring in the area around the compound. Mahmoud Shammam, minister of information for the National Transitional Council, said NATO has "hit some targets" in the compound. TV network Al Arabiya reported that NATO jets were flying low over the compound, and that a loud explosion was heard from inside the facility.

- Despite scenes of celebration outside Moammar Gadhafi's compound Tuesday, there were still some instances of fighting inside, rebels said. Earlier, a rebel fighter told CNN's Sara Sidner that a historic building inside the compound had been burned and the fighting was over inside Bab al-Azizya.

- "The situation remains fluid" in Libya and "fighting is still going on," the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said Tuesday.

- Tripoli is still the site of "numerous clashes," a NATO spokesman said on Tuesday.

- NATO air operations were continuing over Libya and, more specifically, Tripoli on Tuesday to protect civilians in areas where pro-Gadhafi forces may be active, a senior NATO official said. Vast numbers of areas are contested in Libya and the tensions are far from over, a NATO spokesman said Tuesday. "Our mission is not over yet," a NATO spokesman said.

- Rebels battled forces loyal to Gadhafi Tuesday north of Tripoli International Airport, along the main road into the capital. Very heavy fighting could be heard, beginning shortly after noon, with heavy shelling and black smoke in the area. There are two military installations along the road. Rebels took control of the airport Monday.

- Gadhafi regime forces are posing as rebels in Tripoli, rebel contacts told CNN on Tuesday.

- Carloads of people are streaming out of Tripoli toward Zawiya, a CNN crew said.

- A NATO military spokesman told reporters Tuesday he doesn't "have a clue" where Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is. But Gadhafi is "not a key player anymore," the spokesman said. The appearance of a wanted Gadhafi son - Saif al-Islam Gadhafi - at a hotel "in the dead of night" doesn't reflect the government's power, but shows the "remnants of the regime are on the run," a NATO spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

- Libya's opposition has assured NATO that it is respecting international law in its fight, and what the alliance is seeing on the ground reflects that, a NATO spokesman said on Tuesday.

- Libya's National Transitional Council has now established a small office on the outskirts of Tripoli, according to rebel sources. The location of the opposition office is not being disclosed but is in place to help facilitate a transition once Gadhafi is ousted.

- International Criminal Court representatives have been conferring with Libyan opposition members about their efforts to apprehend three wanted suspects from the Gadhafi regime, an ICC spokesman said on Tuesday.

- The Kingdom of Bahrain has recognized Libya's National Transitional Council as the country's "sole legitimate representative," Bahrain's state-run news agency reported Tuesday.

- Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, acknowledged "increased gains" by Libya's opposition on Tuesday and "urged the new leaders" to build a democracy. "Nigeria stands ready to work with the democratic forces in Libya in this transition process," the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Abuja said. Libya's Gadhafi regime long had been an influential power broker on the African continent.

- Al Jazeera reported Tuesday that truckloads of armed rebel fighters have surrounded Moammar Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound.

- A boat that was scheduled to arrive in Tripoli Tuesday to evacuate stranded migrants in the Libyan capital will be delayed, the International Organization for Migration said. The boat, which can carry 300 people, left the Libyan city of Benghazi Monday morning but the deteriorating security situation at Tripoli's port is causing delays, the organization said.

- When told that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi appeared at the Rixos Hotel, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, "As for the appearance of Saif Gadhafi overnight in Tripoli let me be clear, this is not the sign of some great comeback by the Gadhafi regime, he is not roaming freely through Tripoli. He, and indeed the remaining pro-Gadhafi forces, are now cornered. They are making their last stand and it is only a matter of time before they are finally defeated – about that we are very confident indeed."

- NATO has been dropping leaflets in the area of Zawiya. One set warns residents to stay away from military activities. The other encourages pro-Gadhafi mercenaries to "give up the fight and to leave Libya," NATO said. The leaflets are in Arabic and French.

- Doctors in Tripoli are overwhelmed, and there are not enough medical supplies, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday.

- One surface-to-surface missile was fired within Libya and landed in the sea near the rebel-held city of Misrata, a NATO spokeswoman said Tuesday. Earlier, NATO said three missiles had been fired.

- Two of Gadhafi's sons, who had been reported captured over the weekend, were free early Tuesday. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, spoke briefly to CNN at the Rixos Hotel, one of the remaining pro-Gadhafi bastions in Tripoli. Mohammed Gadhafi escaped from rebel custody Monday, Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali told CNN.

- There was no explanation from the National Transitional Council, the rebel leadership, which had announced the capture of both Gadhafi sons.

BACKGROUND

- Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in mid-February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.

- French, British and American military forces began enforcement of a U.N.-approved no-fly on March 19, which was later turned over to NATO. That operation has included strikes against Libyan government forces and supporters.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Gadhafi • Libya • Military • NATO
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