Entries in Transitional National Council (19)


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 Revolution Hailed by Four Visiting GOP Senators

ABC News(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- A quartet of Republican Senators visited Tripoli Thursday to meet with members of the Transitional National Council, the new leaders of Libya.

Speaking for the group, Arizona Sen. John McCain told reporters, "The Libyan people have inspired the world....We believe strongly that the people of Libya today are inspiring the people in Tehran, in Damascus and even in Beijing and Moscow."

McCain, who was in Libya's capital with Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Marco Rubio of Florida, also held talks with Libya's military commanders, who are directing rebels in their fight against forces still loyal to ousted dictator, Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

While the TNC now virtually controls nearly all of Libya, McCain also spoke of another serious crisis -- that of thousands of unaccounted pieces of Gadhafi's arsenal that include conventional and biological and chemical weapons.

The Arizona lawmaker, who supported U.S. and NATO efforts to back the rebels, said, "It's essential to continue working together to secure the many weapons and dangerous materials that the Gadhafi regime proliferated around this country."

McCain asserted that more is being done to find these arsenals before they wind up in the hands of Gadhafi's forces or Islamic militants who could transport them to other countries.

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


Libyans Welcome British and French Leaders

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid a visit to Tripoli Thursday, just weeks after rebel forces drove Col. Moammar Gadhafi from the capital, allowing the Transitional National Council to gain control of the government.

The appearance of the two foreign leaders, whose countries' war planes were instrumental in helping the rebels turn the tide against Gadhafi's forces, at first caught Libyans by surprise.  But the crowds soon gathered to greet Cameron and Sarkozy, who strained to be heard over the wild cheering.

Both promised that their governments would free up billions in Libyan assets to assist the new regime while offering to help in the hunt for Gadhafi, who is still believed to be hiding out in Libya.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rebels Worry Gadhafi Will Escape; Ousted Leader Denies Fleeing to Niger

ABC News(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Libyan rebels are in a race against time as they pursue Col. Moammar Gadhafi, whose whereabouts remain unknown since he was driven from power nearly two weeks ago.

The main concern of the Transitional National Council, which now runs the Libyan government, is that Gadhafi, his family members and loyalists will escape to Niger.

According to the leader of the hunt for Gadhafi, the fugitive former dictator was spotted about 200 miles from Libya's southern borders several days ago and the fear is that Gadhafi will slip into either Niger or Chad.

If that happens, the TNC can only hope that he will be returned to Libya or handed over to the International Criminal Court where he could stand trial for war crimes.

So far, Niger's officials are remaining coy about what it will do.  The country's foreign minister says that his country's border is so porous that it would be virtually impossible to keep Gadhafi and his band from entering.

Meanwhile, in a phone call to a Syrian television station that was broadcast on Thursday, Gadhafi denied rumors that he has fled to Niger.  Instead, the ousted leader stood his ground, telling Arrai TV that his forces would defeat the Libyan rebels and NATO.  The call is said to have been made from inside Libya.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio