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Friday
Feb252011

Libya: US Announces Sanctions; Fleeing Americans Arrive In Malta

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(VALLETTA, Malta) -- A ferry carrying 167 Americans and 118 other foreign nationals from Libya has arrived in Malta. The Maria Dolores had been struck in Tripoli for three days because of rough seas, and many passengers were sickened during the trip. Those who were aboard will now be processed, given a hot meal, a bed to sleep, and a hot shower, before further travel plans are made.

The U.S. has suspended diplomatic operations in Libya and is pulling its personnel from the country. The White House has announced sweeping economic sanctions against Libya and the temporary closing down of the entire U.S. Embassy in the country.

The arrival of the Maria Dolores in Malta came hours after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi blew kisses to a crowd of supporters in Tripoli Friday -- after his troops fired on demonstrators who had been chanting that Gadhafi must go. Although the past week has seen several bloody battles that have left anywhere from 300 to 1,000 dead, Gadhafi extorted the youth in the crowd, "Dance, sing, live your lives. Dance! Dance and Sing! Be happy! Ghadafi is here among his people." He ended his speech by blowing kisses to the cheering crowd.

Earlier, however, gunfire crackled through neighborhoods in the capital as marchers streamed out of Friday mosques services chanting anti-Gadhafi slogans.

Despite Gadhafi's determination to hang on to power, more of his regime crumbled Friday. In Geneva, Libya's entire U.N. mission publicly resigned and the U.N.'s Human Rights Council gave the Libyans a standing ovation.

The Human Rights Council was to convene a special session Friday to investigate reports of mass killings during the Libyan protests.

The situation was vastly different in the eastern half of Libya, which has mostly been taken over by opposition forces. Jubilant protesters told ABC News they will continue to fight, and there were huge turnouts for Friday prayers throughout the eastern part of the country.

Human rights groups put the death toll at 300. Witnesses said the number of the dead could be as high as a 1,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio