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Libyan rebels claim Gaddafi preparing to use chemical warheads | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Colonel Mansour al-Obeidi of the Libyan revolutionary forces informed Asharq Al-Awsat that there are indications that Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is preparing to use Scud missiles equipped with chemical warheads against the rebels in western Tripoli, Brega, and other rebel strongholds across Libya, as a last resort to save his regime.

Al-Obeidi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that sources close to Gaddafi have spoken about the Libyan leader’s intention to use chemical weapons, and that he is equipping Scud missiles with chemical warheads in this regard.

The Libyan rebel officer also claimed that the Gaddafi forces were using mustard gas against the rebels. Mustard gas causes severe chemical burns, in addition to being a carcinogen.

Al-Obeidi also revealed that the Gaddafi forces had used long-rage rockets against the rebel forces south of Misrata over the past two days for the first time since the popular uprising began in Libya. Al-Obeidi stressed that these long-range rockets, which have a range of up to 130 km, were “high-explosive rockets that fragment into more than 500 pieces…they are like cluster bombs and have resulted in more than 80 deaths and 250 injuries.”

At least three explosions were heard in Tripoli on Wednesday, but it was not immediately clear where or what caused them. The Gaddafi forces also fired rockets at Misrata for the first time in weeks; nobody was hurt in the attacks, but it dampened the relative sense of security that had set in amongst residents who had believed that the siege on their city had been broken after rebels drove out pro-Gaddafi forces in mid-May.

Mohammed Mabrouk, who lives near one of two houses in Misrata that were hit by rocket, told Reuters that “everyone is worried. We don’t know where to go anymore. Only when I die will I be safe.”

Colonel Al-Obeidi also stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaddafi’s use of such tactics has impacted the Libyan rebels’ progress.

In other news, Colonel Gaddafi carried out a limited cabinet reshuffle, appointing Nasr Mabrouk Abdullah as Libyan Interior Minister, after this post had remained vacant for approximately four months after former Libyan Interior Minister General Abdul Fattah Younis defected to join the rebel National Transitional Council that is based in Benghazi.

Official Libyan media said that newly appointed Interior Minister Nasr Mabrouk Abdullah was sworn in yesterday in front of the Libyan parliament.

Many observers are viewing Abdullah’s appointment with apprehension, particularly as he is a prominent member of the Libyan revolutionary committees that represents the backbone of the Libyan Jamahiriya system that has been in place in Libya since 1977.