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Gaddafi won’t flee Tripoli- Libyan sources | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo/Tripoli/London, Asharq Al-Awsat- as Libyan rebels are less than 20 miles (30 kilometers) away from Muammar Gaddafi’s main stronghold of Tripoli, Opposition sources within the anti-Gaddafi Transitional National Council [TNC] have stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that the besieged Libyan leader has completed [plans] to smuggle his family abroad by sea and that both Egypt and Tunisia had officially refused to receive Gaddafi’s family.

Despite the assertions by informed sources in the TNC, which represents the revolutionaries and is based in Benghazi, that Gaddafi was preparing to move his family abroad after earlier transferring massive amounts of money, an official in the Libyan Government told Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaddafi does not intend to leave Libya at all and prefers to die resisting the attempt to break into or “invade” the Libyan capital instead of fleeing from it. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Gaddafi’s plan for escape is to remain. He will die if necessary or if the situation requires it. But under no circumstances he will flee. He will not leave.”

An African source in Tripoli told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Gaddafi recently informed several African leaders that his enemies would be unable to reach him alive at the worst circumstances and that he would fight to the last breath.” The source, which also asked to remain anonymous, added that Gaddafi has a plan to move his family and secure its escape abroad at the decisive moments while he and some of his sons would remain to face the inevitable death, according to him.

A TNC official has told Asharq Al-Awsat that “our main option is to arrest Gaddafi alive if possible so as to try him and let the world see that the Libyans have principles and are not bloodthirsty. The second option is certainly killing him if his arrest is impossible.”

Gaddafi’s base in the fortified Bab al-Aziziya barracks at the center of Tripoli came under a violent raid at an early hour yesterday morning after NATO bombers dropped pamphlets warning the local population from getting close to the site and advising them to stay as far away from it as possible. NATO’s aircraft destroyed Camp 27 which is commanded by Gaddafi’s son Al-Mutasim and is believed to include the Libyan colonel’s striking military force. The aircraft also destroyed the house of Al-Sanusi, his brother-in-law and one of his most prominent military and security aides.

Oppositionists said he probably fled south during this violent raid but a government official told Asharq Al-Awsat from Tripoli by telephone that Gaddafi did not leave the city during the hours that preceded the raid but refused to reveal his hideout for what he called his personal safety reasons. Gaddafi is believed to live in secret underground tunnels under Bab al-Aziziya. According to Libyan officials, he secretly built several years ago a fully-equipped small town that enables him to live for a long period of time underground without anyone being able to locate him.

Events accelerated noticeably inside the Libyan capital and the revolutionaries’ sources inside it told Asharq Al-Awsat it would see in the coming few hours a sweeping popular uprising against Gaddafi timed with the revolutionaries approaching the city’s outskirts militarily. The sources said the Fashlum and Tajura neighborhood and Suq al-Jumah would see a wave of new popular protests but refused to give any more details.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s son and one-time heir apparent Saif al-Islam delivered a similarly defiant message on Saturday when he addressed supporters. He told them: “We are not surrendering; it is impossible to raise the white flag.”

“Surrender or the white flag are rejected because this is not the decision of Muammar Gaddafi or Saif al-Islam, it is the decision of the Libyan people,” he said.