Gaddafi Launches Airstrikes On Protesters

Gaddafi Says He’s In Tripoli, Little Else


[Ed. Note: This post has been continued and updated, from earliest to most recent, here, here and here.

Previous updates, from earliest to most recent, are here, here, here, here and here.

For still more news, commentaries, analyses, maps, photographs and videos, click here.]


UPDATE 01:03 GMT: Here’s a screen image pulled from Libyan state TV:


UPDATE 00:53 GMT: It’s been mentioned by a few people that Gaddafi could be on his way to do an actual interview. If so, perhaps there will be cameras for the arrival, à la “Red Carpet” style.

UPDATE 00:49 GMT: Some Twitter responses to Gaddafi’s “speech:”

SO I HAVE A 40 MINUTE SPEECH AND YOU SAY TOO LONG, MY DAD HAS A 15 SECOND SPEECH AND YOU SAY TOO SHORT – YOU GUYS JUST LIKE TO COMPLAIN – from @SeifIslamGaddfi

At least he kept his statement short enough to tweet. – from @acarvin

By the way, now that this has put Libya firmly on the map, I hope this is the last time someone says – “oooo your from Liberia??” – from @libyansrevolt

UPDATE 00:31 GMT: Full text of Gaddafi’s “address to the nation,” via BBC Monitoring: “I am satisfied, because I was speaking in front of the youth in the Green Square tonight, but the rain came praise to God it bears well. I want to clarify for them that I am in Tripoli not in Venezuela. Do not believe these channels they are dogs. Goodbye.”

UPDATE 00:31 GMT: So we went from “an address to the nation” to “a speech” to “an interview” to, ultimately, a soundbite as the long-time Libyan strongman gets in his car. Nice to know he holds his own umbrella, though. That was a nice “man-of-the-people” touch.

UPDATE 00:26 GMT: From Associated Press: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has appeared for less than a minute on state television and made brief remarks to say he was in the capital Tripoli and deny rumors he had to fled to Venezuela amid the unrest sweeping his country. Gaddafi was seated in the passenger seat of a car holding an umbrella up through the open door. It has been raining in the capital for two days. His remarks were aired about 2 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

UPDATE 00:19 GMT: Gaddafi appeared briefly on state TV – says he is in Tripoli, not Venezuela. Will update.

——-THE REST OF THIS POST, INCLUDING ADDITIONAL VIDEOS AND PHOTOS, ARE ON THE JUMP PAGE

UPDATE 00:08 GMT: I guess there’s always hope that the interview takes place in Venezuela.

UPDATE 00:07 GMT: BBC: The upcoming speech by Col Gaddafi is now being trailed as an interview.

UPDATE 23:49 GMT: Al Jazeera Arabic is reporting that there are advertisements running in Guinea and Nigeria are offering would-be mercenaries up to $2000 dollars per day.

UPDATE 23:26 GMT: Al Arabiya still the only one reporting the “Gaddafi Speaks” story

UPDATE 23:23 GMT: Associated Press reports that Jordanians who fled Libya “gave horrific accounts of a ‘bloodbath’ in Tripoli, saying they saw people shot, scores of burned cars and shops, and what appeared to be armed mercenaries who looked as if they were from other African countries.

UPDATE 23:20 GMT: No sign of Gaddafi on state TV. Current programming? Ballet.

UPDATE 23:17 GMT: Latest New York Times: The faltering government of the Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi struck back at mounting protests against his 40-year rule, as security forces and militiamen backed by helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the capital Monday, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.

By Monday night, witnesses said, the streets of the capital, Tripoli, were thick with special forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi as well as mercenaries. They shot freely as planes dropped what witnesses described as “small bombs” and helicopters fired on protesters, making further demonstrations against the government impossible for the moment.

UPDATE 23:10 GMT: Financial Times: Oil companies to pull personnel, shut down operations

UPDATE 22:55 GMT: Mixed messages bouncing around as to the extent of Libyan army officers joining with anti-Gaddafi forces.

UPDATE 22:42 GMT: If report of Gaddafi speech is true, nothing we’re hearing from his son or other close officials indicates that he’s on the verge of giving in or leaving.

UPDATE 22:33 GMT: State TV reports Saif Gaddafi (Muammar’s “Mini-me”) denies warplanes bombed populated areas in Tripoli and Benghazi, says targets were ammunition depots in remote areas [Ed. Note: Libyan state TV didn’t include the “mini-me” part.]

UPDATE 22:13 GMT: Al Arabiya reports Gaddafi will be delivering a TV address soon.

UPDATE 22:09 GMT: Extremely, extremely graphic photos have been posted here. [Ed. Note: Graphic images of warfare are shown on this site for two reasons: 1. If more people saw the true carnage of warfare, fewer would advocate it as easily as they do, and 2. uncensored photos and videos give a far greater sense of the sacrifices some make, regardless of their validity or invalidity of their cause.]


UPDATE 21:02 GMT: Anti-Gaddafi forces, via Twitter: “now we have Tripoli Misrata Zawia all currently being bombed”

UPDATE 20:59 GMT: BBC: “It’s well into the hours of darkness now in Libya, and the situation is reported to be extremely tense. From Tripoli, one eyewitness told the BBC that people there are expecting a major event tonight – ‘a final battle’ were the words used.”

UPDATE 20:54 GMT: Reported AJA update on the air strikes: Air strikes happening in Zawiya currently; Two fighter jets land in Benghazi after their pilots refused to perform air strikes.

UPDATE 20:13 GMT: Arabiya TV: Libyan military source confirms orders were issued for the aerial bombardment of Benghazi within the past 2 1/2 hours.

UPDATE 19:49 GMT: AFP: Eyewitnesses are reporting a “massacre” in the Fashloum and Tajoura districts of Tripoli.


AJE Interview with Libyan UN Deputy Ambassador
Vodpod videos no longer available.


UPDATE 19:47 GMT: BBC: Libya’s diplomats at the United Nations for international intervention to end the crisis. The deputy ambassador, Ibrahim Omar Al Dabashi, told BBC World that Col Gaddafi’s government was carrying out a genocide. “It is a real genocide whether it is in the eastern cities of Libya or whether what is going now in Tripoli,” he said. “The information that we are receiving from the people in Tripoli is the regime is killing whoever goes out to the streets… He has his mercenaries everywhere in the streets and whenever any demonstrator appears they just kill them. At least they shoot them, whether they kill them or not, but they are shooting them.”

UPDATE 19:17 GMT: Al Arabiya television reporting accounts of 160 dead from clashes in Tripoli today.

UPDATE 19:14 GMT: BBC: Confirms that “Gaddafi was in Libya when he had his phone conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon earlier.”

UPDATE 19:09 GMT: AJE reports “Ibrahim Dabbashim Libya’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN, tells Al Jazeera if Gaddafi does not get out, ‘the people will kick him out.'”

UPDATE 19:06 GMT: [Ed. Note: Been asked to post this.] Dutch ISP provider XS4ALL has set up an internet dial-up service for Libya. Use your modem to dial +31205350535 username: xs4all password: xs4all

UPDATE 19:03 GMT: Reuters: “Gaddafi rule looks tenuous in Tripoli unrest”

UPDATE 18:59 GMT: Associate Press: “Deep cracks open up in Muammar Gaddafi’s regime after more than 40 years in power, with diplomats abroad and the justice minister at home resigning, air force pilots defecting and a fire raging at the main government hall after clashes in the capital Tripoli.”

UPDATE 18:53 GMT: Al Jazeera Arabic reports Libyan ambassador to the EU resigns [Ed. Note: would be easier to keep track of which ambassadors haven’t resigned]

UPDATE 18:40 GMT: Unconfirmed reports of protesters in Tripoli being bombed from the air.

UPDATE 18:13 GMT: Continuing to receive reports of protesters in Tripoli coming under air attack.

UPDATE 18:11 GMT: All land-based and wireless communications are reported cut in Libya [Ed. Note: According to our real-time metrics report, this website had Libyan-based IP addresses viewing this page within the past 20 minutes.]

UPDATE 18:06 GMT: Libyan Air Force pilots have defected to Malta. The pilots are reported to have told Maltese officials they were ordered to attack protesters on the ground in Benghazi.


Defecting Libyan Air Force pilot in Malta.


Mercenaries on patrol in Tripoli.


UPDATE 17:55 GMT: AJE is reporting dozens dead after more violence hit Tripoli as angry protests against embattled leader Muammar al-Gaddafi escalate across the country.

At least 61 people were killed in clashes in Tripoli on Monday as protests appear to be gather momentum, witness say.

Another large march under way in Tripoli this afternoon was reportedly under attack by security forces using military planes and live ammunition to fire on protesters, according to Al Jazeera sources.


Video below just posted by anti-Gaddafi forces.
CAUTION: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Earlier today, Al Jazeera reporting reported Libyan air force jets had landed at the main airport in Malta. Sources saying the aircraft had “escaped” from Libya with no official clearance and only one passenger was carrying a passport.

Reports from overnight indicated that “dozens” of people were killed during clashes in Tripoli and several cities in the east appeared to be in the hands of the opposition. [Ed. Note: Gathering details (and sorting fact from, uh, fact-ish) now.]

Shortly after the Seif speech, anti-Gaddafi forces first tweeted that the Werfalla tribe – largest in the country according to some – were siding with Gaddafi loyalists and that “Tripoli is under siege.” They then reversed course and said Werallas is anti-Gadaffi. Obviously, it’s a fluid situation to say the least.

Other reports coming out from these same opposition groups indicate they expect fierce fighting tonight in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and perhaps throughout other parts of the country.

There have been many reports that Gaddafi has brought in “30,000” mercenaries from other African countries. That Gaddafi has imported mercenaries is hardly a surprise – if oil money can’t buy a dictator a little protection, what good is it, right? – but it seems unlikely that witnesses can be accurate as to the number of mercenaries.  Equally important is the mercenaries ability to fight.  We’ll find out in time.

Refresh or come back for updates.


Two videos below are reported to be of protesters and what sounds to be sporadic gunshots – possibly sniper fire – during the pre-dawn hours in Tripoli, February 21, 2011. The first video includes footage described as protesters burning a police station Souq Al Jummah, Tripoli.

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

_________________

Note: This post is a continuation from a previous post and takes up after the speech given by Saif al-Gaddafi on Libyan state TV.

If you’re looking for background, including all the Libyan developments from Sunday, February 20, including details of the day’s battles, as well as photographs and videos, go here.

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