Libyan rebels search for Gaddafi (Lead)

August 23rd, 2011 - 8:38 am ICT by IANS  

Benghazi/Tripoli (Libya), Aug 23 (IANS) Libyan rebels have vowed to capture Muammar Gaddafi as NATO continued air strikes on his compound in Tripoli early Tuesday, Xinhua reported.

Libyan rebel forces took control of most of Tripoli Sunday night and were still clearing up the remnants of pro-Gaddafi forces.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of Libya’s National Transitional Council, said Gaddafi’s era is over and the real victory of Libyan revolution lies in the capture of him.

Jalil, however, promised that Gaddafi would be given a fair trial if captured alive.

Tripoli is under the rebels’ full control except for Bab al-Aziziyah, Gaddafi’s longtime command centre, he said, adding that Gaddafi’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Jalil noted that nationwide, Surt and Sabah states were still under the control of Gaddafi forces.

Jalil said that the new Libya will be a mild state and a responsible member of the international community, with Tripoli as the future capital.

Libyan people will be protected from political assassination, arrests and hanging, and the rebels will put down weapons as soon as peace is achieved, he said.

Meanwhile, NATO continued air strikes on Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli early Tuesday, the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television cited rebel sources as reporting.

Although the rebels are closing in on one of Gaddafi’s last bastions, they were confronted by resistance of heavily-armed troops loyal to the Libyan leader.

Though whereabouts of Gaddafi remained a myth, South Africa denied that it plans to give him a sanctuary.

In Johannesburg, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane dismissed reports that the country sent planes to Libya to arrange for the exit of Gaddafi.

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