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Sleeper cells preparing for operations in Tripoli – Anti-Gaddafi rebels | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Official sources within the rebel Libyan National Transitional Council informed Asharq Al-Awsat that anti-Gaddafi rebels intend to carry out an operation in the Libyan capital Tripoli in the coming days in an attempt to encourage Tripoli residents to take to the streets and protest against the Gaddafi regime.

The source within the Libyan National Transitional Council, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that plans are underway to surprise the Gaddafi regime in the heart of its stronghold, namely the Bab al-Aziziyah military compound in Tripoli. The source added that the rebels had rejected the initiatives put forward by Turkish and African mediators because they are insistent on the complete departure of Colonel Gaddafi from power.

The source also commented on the unprecedented public threat issued by National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, to Colonel Gaddafi yesterday, that he would be facing a “flood” of opposition. Former Libyan Justice Minister, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who defected from the Gaddafi regime in protest to the use of force against the Libyan demonstrators, is not known for utilizing the language of threats and intimidation.

Sources close to Abdul Jalil told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Gaddafi must take this threat seriously, this is not an empty threat…we are marching on him.”

The source also revealed the presence of sleeper cells affiliated to the anti-Gaddafi rebels in the heart of Tripoli. He said that even though the Libyan regime continues to prevent Tripoli residents from access to the internet, the rebels are utilizing non-conventional means to stay in contact with these sleeper cells. The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that “sometimes we use cell phones to pass private information utilizing secret codes to circumvent the ongoing wire-tapping carried out by the Libyan security and intelligence agencies on cell phone communication.”

The source also told Asharq Al-Awsat that an extensive popular uprising being sparked in Tripoli is a possibility, provided there is good preparation for this, clarifying that some pro-rebels operating in the heart of Tripoli are continuing to carry out resistance operations against the Gaddafi regime.

The source added “it is as if Tripoli is under occupation, for this is truly an occupation, we have men [working there] and they are gathering information on the inside, and we know everything that the [Gaddafi] regime is doing.”

A military official loyal to the anti-Gaddafi rebel forces told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Gaddafi’s fate will be like the fate of the president of the Ivory Coast who was arrested by French troops and handed over to the president-elect.” The military official added “if Gaddafi does not step down, we will come for him in his home, it is only a matter of time, we will arrest him and bring him to trial for his terrible crimes against the people of Libya over 42 years.”

The military source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, added “he [Gaddafi] must understand that he has no hope, there will be no dialogue and no roadmap unless the first article of any of these is assurances that [Colonel] Gaddafi and his sons step down [from power].”

The source pointed out that the noose had tightened around Gaddafi after his forces suffered a number of military losses over the past few days, he stressed that “the revolutionaries taught the Gaddafi forces a harsh lesson forcing them to retreat, leaving behind military equipment, whilst NATO planes continued the task by bombing the Gaddafi forces as they were retreating.”

Libyan state media has reported that the situation in Tripoli is calm, and that pro-Gaddafi rallies continue to take place there. However a Tripoli resident speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat via satellite phone yesterday said “do not believe what the official media affiliated to the Gaddafi regime says, we are hostages, and if we had the opportunity, we would do what the people in eastern Libya did [and rise up against Gaddafi].” The Tripoli resident said that the foreign media in Tripoli are not given the opportunity to talk with Tripoli’s residents, stressing that “if people were given the opportunity to speak freely, I am certain that the world would be deeply shocked because what is being published about the situation in Tripoli is not the truth.”

In an incident that seems to corroborate the claims of the presence of sleeper cells loyal to the anti-Gaddafi rebels in Libya’s capital, Tripoli residents have revealed that revolutionary forces attacked a government check-point in eastern Tripoli last week, capturing weapons. A Libyan opposition figure living abroad told Asharq Al-Awsat that he is in contact with anti-Gaddafi rebels hiding out in Tripoli, he said that “they are carrying out attacks in Tripoli. They have killed many members of Gaddafi’s army.”

However there have also been reports of Gaddafi security forces impersonating anti-Gaddafi rebels in Tripoli, calling on people to take to the streets, only to arrest and attack anybody who does so. This has further complicated the situation, and spread confusion and chaos in Tripoli.