Tags: libya gadhafi son

Gadhafi Son: Tripoli Quiet, 'Life is Normal'

Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 10:05 AM


Moammar Gaddafi's son denied Thursday that Libya has killed large numbers of protesters through airstrikes and other attacks, The Washington Post reports, while a former top Gaddafi aide said he quit the government to protest its violent crackdown.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Gaddafi's son, disputed the death tolls that have been reported since the protests began 10 days ago, saying allegations that hundreds have been killed are a "joke."

"Tripoli is quiet," he said in an interview aired on Libyan state television. "Life is normal."

The junior Gaddafi said Libya intends to provide Western journalists on Friday access to Tripoli, the capital, and other cities, so they can corroborate the government's claim that the country remains under Gaddafi's control.

The U.S. State Department, citing conversations with Libyan officials, said some members of news organizations CNN, BBC Arabic and al-Arabiya would be allowed into the country, but any reporters who have entered Libya without government permission would be considered al-Qaeda "collaborators."

"The Libyan government said that it was not responsible for the safety of these journalists, who risked immediate arrest on the full range of possible immigration charges," the State Department warning said.

Libya appears dangerously fractured, with Gaddafi's regime intent on fighting but its authority beyond Tripoli in doubt. The longtime ruler has tightened his grip on the capital, witnesses say, by flooding the streets with militiamen and loyalist troops who were reportedly roaming the streets and shooting opponents from SUVs.

Rebels who launched an uprising last week have consolidated their control of key eastern cities, however, and continued advancing west across the coastal strip, where most of the country's population is clustered. The opposition has called for a large protest Friday.

In the city of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, an army unit attacked a mosque where protesters had been stationed for several days, a witness told the Associated Press. The soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons and hit the mosque's minaret with anti-aircraft missiles, said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com





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2011-05-24
Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 10:05 AM
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