Entries in Libyan Rebels (37)


How Moammar Gadhafi Spent His Final Weeks

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images(SIRTE, Libya) -- While the last five minutes of Moammar Gadhafi's life were undoubtedly terrifying, the ousted dictator also led a tortured existence in the weeks before those final brutal moments at the hands of Libyan rebels.

According to those familiar with the situation, Gadhafi chose to stay in his hometown of Sirte rather than try to flee to Niger or Algeria.

A local resident said that Gadhafi spent his last three weeks inside a two-story house in a northern part of the city.

Apparently, Gadhafi did not venture outside a room that was lined with metal sheets to keep people and bullets from entering.  His meals were made by his personal chef while as many as 200 snipers held position on rooftops surrounding the place where Gadhafi was holed.

Witnesses said that the once-powerful dictator had been humbled by his swift downfall and lived in fear of his life despite public proclamations that he would die rather than surrender.

It all came to an end last Thursday when African mercenaries hired to protect Gadhafi were unable to beat back the onslaught of rebels fighting for the National Transitional Council.

As his protectors were gunned down, the decision was made to flee the outpost in a fleet of cars.  But before going a mile outside Sirte, a CIA Predator drone and NATO war plane stopped the escape, forcing Gadhafi and others to spend their last living moments cowering in a twin-hole drainage tunnel before they met their ultimate fate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Details Surfacing on How Libyan Rebels Killed Moammar Gadhafi

Libyan National Transitional Council fighters stand outside drainage pipes where ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was captured. PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images(SIRTE, Libya) -- Celebrations continued across Libya the day after Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebel forces in his hometown of Sirte, while details of the hours and minutes that led up to his death begin to surface.

Gadhafi's grisly final moments were captured on a grainy cellphone video that shows the former Libyan leader surrounded by a frenzied mob of rebels.  Men are seen grabbing at him, propping him up, and pummeling him while he can be seen dazed, attempting to speak and bleeding profusely.

The final hunt for Gadhafi began around 8 a.m. Thursday in Sirte, which is the former leader's hometown and was one of the final loyalist strongholds of his regime.  The rebels who took control of Libya in February began what they hoped would be their final offensive to conquer the town.

As the rebels toppled Sirte, a U.S. drone, which was operated remotely from Las Vegas, alerted NATO of a fleeing 80-car convoy.

Soon, French fighter jets responded with an airstrike, which took out two of the vehicles.  It is still unclear if these French fighters hit Gadhafi's car, but when the rebels poured in they told the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse that the former leader was hiding in a drainage pipe.

"They say they discovered him [in the drainage pipe] just before 12 this afternoon.  They pulled him out of the hole, and one fighter told me that Moammar Gadhafi said to him, 'What did I do to you?'" Gatehouse said.

This account of finding Gadhafi in the drainage pipe was confirmed by an English-speaking rebel fighter, who told ABC News, "We catch him there.  We shot him."

In a video that surfaced Friday, Gadhafi is heard repeatedly saying the phrase "Haram Aleiko," which is an Arabic expression that literally translated means, "This is a sin for you."  The phrase is generally used as a plea to convey the vulnerability of the victim.

The fatal shot that killed Ghadhafi was reportedly fired by a young man donning a baseball cap with a Yankees logo.  Afterwards he was photographed brandishing Gadhafi's vanquished golden gun.

Still unknown is the fate of Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, who played a prominent role taunting rebels throughout the seven-month revolution.  There had been reports he had been captured or killed, but there were also reports that he was fleeing south in the Sahara Desert to Niger.

It has been confirmed that one of Gadhafi's other sons, Muatassim, was also killed in Thursday's attack.  He was a prominent military commander.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reports: Moammar Gadhafi Captured or Killed in Libya

An image captured off a cellular phone camera purportedly shows the arrest of Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte on October 20, 2011. PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed, rebel leaders said Thursday.

After months on the run, the former dictator was found and shot by rebel fighters in his hometown of Sirte, according to Libya's new ruling body, the National Transitional Council.

Earlier reports said Gadhafi had been captured.

The White House and NATO said they were unable to confirm reports of his death.

Gadhafi's reported capture comes on the same day rebel fighters gained control of Sirte from his loyalists.  The port city was the last remaining Gadhafi stronghold left to fall, paving the way for the NTC to fully establish a new government.

Story developing...

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Gain Control of Sirte, Last Gadhafi Stronghold

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images(SIRTE, Libya) -- Two months after anti-government forces overran the Libyan capital of Tripoli rebel fighters Thursday appeared to have finally seized control of Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte from his loyalists, according to published reports.

This takeover signifies the official end of Gadhafi’s four-decade dictatorial rule of Libya, which began to crumble last February when pro-democracy activists staged an uprising in the eastern city of Benghazi that spread westward.

Within a month, NATO, along with U.S. assistance, came to the aid of rebel forces by establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, which grounded Gadhafi’s war jets as pro and anti-government fighters engaged in a five-month battle that culminated with the rogue leader, his family, and remaining supporters fleeing Tripoli in late August.

Still, the National Transitional Council -- Libya’s new regime -- was unable to fully establish a new government until cities considered Gadhafi strongholds were also under control, namely Bani Walid, which fell earlier this week, and Sirte, a strategic port city.

The fight for Sirte was meticulously planned as the TNC tried to minimize civilian casualties.  Pockets of resistance that included snipers prevented a quick victory, so rebels proceeded to gain control of Sirte block by block over several weeks until the last of Gadhafi's loyalists were sent running Thursday.

Even though Gadhafi’s whereabouts are still unknown, taking Sirte essentially leaves him with no base city to plot counter-moves against TNC fighters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hillary Clinton Visits Libya to Meet Rebel Leaders

Alex Wong/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down in Libya Tuesday afternoon, becoming the first cabinet level official to visit the country since NATO airstrikes began in March and Tripoli fell in late August.

A senior State Department official said that the purpose of Secretary Clinton's visit is to congratulate the Libyan people on the ouster of Gadhafi from power, help with transition issues like unifying the rebel fighters, and forge a deeper partnership with Libya.

While in Libya, Clinton will be meeting with Mahmoud Jibril, president of Libya's Transitional National Council, and she will hold a town hall meeting with the Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University.

Clinton is undertaking the dangerous diplomatic mission as fighting is still raging in parts of Libya, and the country's former leader Moammar Gadhafi is still on the run.

Mrs. Clinton arrived in Tripoli on a military C17 cargo plane equipped with defenses against surface-to-air missiles. Clinton's contingent switched to the military aircraft on the island nation of Malta after an overnight flight from Washington, D.C. It's estimated 20,000 man-portable surface-to-air missles vanished since the rebellion began; they could easily bring down military or civilian airliners -- the latter have no such missile defenses.

The adminstration is concerned about the missile systems' falling into terrorist hands. There have been reports that some of these missiles have already made their way to the Sinai Peninsula bound for Gaza.

Clinton is offering Libya an additional $10 million on top of the $30 million already committed to help with the search and destruction of these missiles.  The U.S. will increase the number of State Department contractors beyond the 14 who are now already helping to destroy what missile systems they find.

Although Clinton has been an advocate for military action in Libya, the NATO mission has not yet officially ended, seven months after it began. U.S. military personnel are still in harm's way, despite President Obama's promise the U.S. commitment there would end in "days, not weeks." Gadhafi's home town of Sirte has yet to fall to rebel forces, and fears still remain of a civil war with pro-Gadhafi holdouts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Claim Control of Strategic City

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(BANI WALID, Libya) -- While fighting goes on in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, rebel forces have apparently seized nearly full control of Bani Walid -- southeast of Tripoli -- representing a major defeat to loyalists of deposed dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Military commanders with the new ruling Transitional National Council say they've taken 95 percent of Bani Walid with just pockets of resistance remaining.

After weeks of fighting, the pro-Gadhafi forces finally succumbed to three straight days of fire from tanks and other heavy artillery.

Taking Sirte, which appeared on the verge of collapse last week, remains problematic as snipers in the center of the city continue to hold off rebel forces determined to keep civilian casualties to a minimum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Close In on Sirte While Another Gadhafi Son Is Caught

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images(SIRTE, Libya) -- After weeks of fighting, it appears that rebel forces are on the verge of finally controlling former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte if they haven't done so already.

There were reports Wednesday that Sirte had fallen into the rebels' hands although Libya's new regime, the Transitional National Council, wasn't prepared to confirm this development.

Seizing Sirte would enable the TNC to begin the process of formally setting up a government and open ports and harbors even though a few Gadhafi strongholds still remain.

The city has been fiercely defended by the ousted leader's supporters even as the rest of the country has apparently settled into a post-Gadhafi era.

Meanwhile, the TNC was able to announce that Gadhafi's fifth's son, Mutassim, was taken into custody outside Sirte.  He had served as National Security Adviser of Libya under the regime of his father, who is still on the run.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rebels Making Gradual Progress in Bid to Capture Gadhafi's Hometown

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images(SIRTE, Libya) -- Col. Moammar Gadhafi has no intention of surrendering to Libya's new regime and neither apparently does his hometown.

While the whereabouts of the former Libyan dictator are unknown, many of his fellow townspeople of Sirte are resisting the takeover by opposition forces sent by the Transitional National Council, the country's new ruling body.

Progress has been slow in Sirte although interim government forces say there are capturing parts of the city, landmark by landmark.

The latest to fall Sunday are the university and a conference center, but taking the main city square has been difficult due to snipers holding off advancing rebels.

Capturing Sirte with as little violence as possible seems to be the strategy so there'll be no full-scale offensive to give residents time to leave the most vulnerable areas.

Protracted battles in Sirte and a few other hot spots have prevented the TNC from setting up a full-fledged government.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Making Progress Against Gadhafi Loyalists in Bani Walid

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Rebels in Libya may be getting closer to controlling one of two towns that refuse to surrender.

According to sources with the now-ruling Transitional National Council, their fighters have surrounded Bani Walid, which has fighters loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the fugitive dictator whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Seizing Bani Walid from Gadhafi loyalists has been difficult because they've been shooting residents who attempt to revolt and the rebels want to keep civilian casualties at a minimum.

Meanwhile, the TNC seems to be more optimistic about its attempt to take Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, saying that it could fall within the next few days.

While the fighting continues, the TNC has been active in the eastern city of Benghazi to establish a Cabinet and diplomatic ties abroad.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Facing Resistance in Sirte, Bani Walid

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Three weeks after gaining control of Tripoli, Libyan rebels still cannot find Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

The former ruler went on the lam to avoid capture and reports of his imminent arrest have turned out to be dead-ends.

Adding to the frustration of the Transitional National Council, Gadhafi loyalists are not making it easy for Libya's new regime to defeat the resistance in two cities.

In Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, the rebels were driven back over the weekend by heavy rocket and artillery fire, suggesting a siege that could last for weeks, if not months.

The anti-Gadhafi forces are also encountering the same kind of hostility in the desert town of Bani Walid.  As a result, Turkey began humanitarian supply drops to assist civilians whose access to food and medical supplies is running low due to the fighting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio