A defiant Muammar Gaddafi vowed to fight on “until victory or martyrdom”.
TRIPOLI – The Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli came under fire on Wednesday, a day after rebel fighters captured the symbolic heart of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, CNN informs. The latest attacks on the compound came from pro-Gadhafi forces. At least seven mortars fell on Bab al-Aziziya within a 40-minute period.
Meanwhile, fresh clashes broke out Wednesday outside the Rixos hotel, where about 35 international journalists are trapped. Several rockets landed near the Tripoli International Airport and rebel Commander Rebels control the hotly contested airport but were struggling to control an area east of it. The unexpected resistance caused them to speculate that loyalists could be protecting a high-profile figure in the vicinity. Nevertheless, the rebels remained optimistic they would crush Gadhafi’s regime soon. Claiming it controls 90 percent of the country and was days away from “a new Libya,” the rebel government said it is planning to move many of its key ministries to the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Wednesday.
Shamsiddin Ben Ali, a spokesman for the National Transitional Council – the rebel government – told CNN that Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte would probably fall peacefully through negotiations by Wednesday. Gadhafi’s regime, however, slammed the notion its fall was imminent. On Wednesday, two Arabic networks aired an audio message purportedly from Gadhafi that called upon all Libyans “to clear the city of Tripoli and eliminate the criminals, traitors and rats.” “They are hiding between the families and inside the civilian houses,” the message said. “It’s your duty to enter these houses and take them out.”
Hours earlier, Gadhafi spokesman Musa Ibrahim struck an equally defiant tone when he said government forces have the power to fight in Tripoli “not just for months – for years.”
The fighting has claimed an undetermined number of civilian lives, “which is quite a concern for us,” said Robin Waudo, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tripoli.
Doha meeting seeks to raise USD 2.5 bn aid
A donors’ meeting was held in Doha, capital of Qatar, to raise funds for Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC). The target is to raise USD 2.5bn to pay the salaries of government workers as well as funding treatment for people injured in the fighting. Speaking in Doha, NTC Prime Minister Mahmud Jibril announced the conference and said Libya’s transition “begins immediately”.
A meeting of senior diplomats is also due to take place in Istanbul today, at which ways of helping with reconstruction and transition into a democratic state will be discussed. French President Sarkozy hopes that the Istanbul meeting will finalise plans for a “Friends of Libya” conference to be held in Paris in the next 10 days, which will include heads of state and international organisatio