Libyan Dictator Gaddafi Is in His Bastion Sirte - Report
Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte has been added to the list of possible locations for the whereabouts of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, according to unconfirmed reports.
Gaddafi is believed, by some, to be in his hometown of Sirte, a city upon which he lavished attention after he took power in 1969, the BBC reported early Friday. The report comes after on Thursday the dictator tried to galvanize his supporters in Sirte.
While the search for him is in progress with an EUR 1.2 M bounty on his head, Gaddafi broadcast a new speech in an attempt to rally support in his hometown of Sirte, one of his last remaining bastions.
"Libya is for Libyans not for foreign agents," Gaddafi said in his latest speech broadcast on his last remaining loyalist TV station al-Urubah Thursday night, as cited by BBC Monitoring.
The dictator who keeps losing ground across the country to the Libyan rebels in spite of the stiff resistance offered by his supporters has urged the all people of Sirte – men, women, and children – to contribute to the "cleansing" of the capital Tripoli from the rebels.
"We must resist these enemy rats, who will be defeated thanks to the armed struggle," he is quoted as saying in his broadcast .
Earlier on Thursday, the Libyan rebels moved to advance on the region of Sirte, Gaddafi's bastion and birthplace. Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli, and Sabha, 600 km to the south, are Gaddafi's two last major strongholds.
Having taken most of Tripoli – even though the capital has not been fully secured with pockets of resistance still surviving in some districts - the Libyan rebel forces started to push towards Sirte.
The dictator's loyalists, however, managed to halt their advance, ambushing a large column of rebel vehicles near the town of Bin Jawad, according to international reports, killing dozens of rebels, with the rest of the rebel troops withdrawing hastily to the east towards the town of Ras Lanuf.
As of Friday morning, Gaddafi forces are still firmly in control of the eastern city of Sirte as well as Sabha in the desert to the south. Large regions in Libya's provinces are still outside of the control of the rebel's Transitional National Council, which completed Thursday its hasty relocation from Benghazi to the capital Tripoli, and are in the hands of either Gaddafi's loyalists, or local tribal leaders.
As the search for Gaddafi continues, there have been reports that foreign military involvement in Libya might be greater than the continuing NATO airstrikes against regime targets. British, French, and Qatari special forces are rumored to have been spotted on the ground even though none of these reports could be confirmed.
Speaking late Thursday night, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he could neither confirm, nor deny these reports.
"Well we don't comment on the operations of special forces, for good reasons. If we get in the habit of talking about our special forces we'd get in the habit of endangering them, so we don't do that," he told the BBC.
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