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May 18, 2022

Tripoli fighting flares up again, Gadhafi compound attacked

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi re-emerges. Obama says Libya’s Gadhafi era is over.

TRIPOLI – Rebel fighters attacked Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound Tuesday, a rebel spokesman and opposition fighters told CNN. The claim comes after a day of unexpected twists in the Libyan war.
What appeared to be a climactic showdown between rebel and government forces in Libya a day earlier dissolved into confusion and uncertainty about whether ruler Moammar Gadhafi’s regime would fall anytime soon.

As fresh fighting erupted in Tripoli, those injured from clashes face a shortage of doctors, facilities and medical supplies.

Relief for foreign nationals trying to flee Tripoli was postponed after a boat scheduled to arrive at the capital Tuesday was delayed, the International Organization for Migration said.

On Monday, rebel leaders claimed they had captured three of Gadhafi’s sons, including Saif al-Islam – who is wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court and has been considered his father’s heir apparent.

But Tuesday, Saif al-Islam showed up at the Rixos Hotel, one of the remaining strongholds of pro-Gadhafi forces.
In a brief interview with CNN’s Matthew Chance, he said his father and several of his sisters were safe in Tripoli, and that loyal troops had “broken the back” of the rebels who moved into the capital over the weekend.

Another Gadhafi son, Mohammed Gadhafi, reportedly escaped from rebel custody, the Libyan ambassador to the United States said. It was unclear Tuesday whether Saadi Gadhafi – the third son the rebels claimed to have captured – was in their custody. There was no immediate response Tuesday from the National Transitional Council, the rebel leadership. NATO confirmed Tuesday that it has been dropping leaflets in the Zawiya area. One set of leaflets is intended to warn residents to stay away from military activities, NATO said in a statement to CNN.

Elsewhere in Libya, a missile was fired from Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte and landed in the sea near the rebel-held city of Misrata Monday evening, NATO said Tuesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Moammar Gadhafi’s rule is “coming to an end” as more Arab nations joined in recognizing the Libyan opposition as the legitimate representative of the country’s people, the Voice of America reports. The president called on Mr. Gadhafi to prevent further bloodshed and instruct loyalist forces who continue fighting “to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.” He also called on opposition forces to build a democratic government through “peaceful, inclusive and just” measures, and not to seek justice through violent reprisals.

Earlier Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a “smooth transition” and said the U.N. stands ready to provide the Libyan people with post-conflict assistance. Mr. Ban said he will hold urgent meetings on Libya this week with major organizations including the African Union, the European Union and the Arab League.

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