Tue August 23, 2011
Fighting Flares In Tripoli
The situation in Libya remains very fluid. As NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro said on Morning Edition, there was "a stunning turn of events" on Monday. While it first appeared that opposition forces might soon take control of Tripoli and that they had captured two or three of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, now it seems that some of Gadhafi's armed loyalists are fighting back and — as we reported last evening — Gadhafi's son Saif has been moving about in Tripoli, taunting the opposition and declaring that his father is safe.
"What we saw yesterday was in fact a city in chaos," added Lourdes, who was in Tripoli for much of the day on Monday. By evening it did not appear to be a capital about to fall to the anti-Gadhafi forces.
We'll watch the situation throughout the day and update this post with the latest, so make sure you hit refresh to see the latest.
Update at 10:28 a.m. ET. Rebels Claim They Breached Gadhafi Compound:
Sky News along with Reuters and others are reporting that rebels have breached the first gate of Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound. According to Sky News, the breakthrough came after a NATO strike.
What's clear is that a huge firefight is going on outside the compound. CNN's Matthew Chance is at the Rixos Hotel, which is close by and he reports on Twitter that he can hear heavy fighting outside:
Sniper took pot-shot at hotel & we all took cover. Journalists in #Rixos are fine, keeping together but have limited perspective on news.
Our Original Post Continues:
Today, the BBC reports, there's been "renewed gunfire, mortars and grenades in the area around the Rixos hotel, one of the pockets still held by Gaddafi forces." The Guardian's Luke Harding, who is in Tripoli, reported earlier that it "is very hard to make sense of what is going on, but the battle is still going on."
"This is going to be a bitter, difficult battle," Lourdes told the NPR Newsdesk earlier today. "Tripoli is the heart of Gadhafi's control."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the International Criminal Court — which, it was reported on Monday, had confirmed Saif's arrests — now says it never had "official" confirmation from opposition forces that Gadhafi's son was in their custody. As Eyder reported last evening, opposition leaders are now claiming that Saif had been "arrested," but later escaped.
Note: NPR follows Associated Press style on the spelling of Gadhafi's name. Other news outlets use different spellings.