Libya’s Rebel Government Moving Base to Tripoli

Posted August 26th, 2011 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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The Libyan rebels' interim government has started operating in the capital, Tripoli, moving its base from Benghazi, where the revolution to topple Colonel Moammar Gadhafi began months ago.

The move comes as some opposition fighters pour into Tripoli to help combat the remnants of pro-Gadhafi forces, and others advance toward the Libyan leader's hometown of Sirte, where his loyalists have been massing for a showdown.

Separately, the International Organization for Migration announced it had sent another ship to rescue foreigners from Tripoli and deliver some 50 humanitarian workers. Late Thursday, a IOM charter ship left the city with 263 migrants on board.

Fierce gunbattles rang out in the capital on Thursday, as Mr. Gadhafi used a short audio broadcast to rally his supporters and denounce foreign countries for their involvement in the conflict.

Separately in Tripoli, foreign correspondents viewed the bodies of more than 40 people who appeared to have been executed. It was not clear who killed them, but some of the victims had darker skin tones typical of Africans who composed a large part of Gadhafi's army.

British Defense Minister Liam Fox said Thursday NATO is helping the rebels in their hunt for Mr. Gadhafi and members of his government by providing them with intelligence and reconnaissance equipment to aid in their search.

Meanwhile in Washington, the State Department said it believes Libya's stockpiles of mustard gas and a low-enriched uranium are secure, but they remained concerned over the proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles.

In another development, Mr. Gadhafi's one-time close associate, Abdel Salam Jalloud, said he was in talks with opposition forces to create a new political party. Jalloud, who fled Tripoli for Italy last week, said the new party will be a nationalist, liberal and secular party.

He said he did not know Mr. Gadhafi's whereabouts, but thought that the embattled Libyan leader was hiding either in Tripoli, on the Algerian border, or in his hometown of Sirte, heading eventually for the desert, possibly dressed as a woman.