Rebels start to surround Gadhafi in capital

Key interrogator of activists flees

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Mr. el-Gamaty described Mr. Abdullah as Col. Gadhafi’s henchman and loyal aide.

Gadhafi relied on him for a lot of security operations to contain the opposition,” he said.

Mohamed, a rebel spokesman who gave only his first name, played down the significance of Mr. Abdullah’s defection, noting that Col. Gadhafi’s inner circle remains intact.

“The real defections that we want are from Gadhafi’s inner circle, his sons and his brother-in-law,” he said in an interview from Amman, Jordan.

Col. Gadhafi’s brother-in-law and intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi, is wanted by the International Criminal Court to answer to war crimes allegations.

In a message on Libyan state TV, Col. Gadhafi dismissed the rebels’ victories and denounced them and NATO as “rats” and “colonizers.” He also called on the Libyan army to “prepare for battle.”

“The fact that Gadhafi went on TV and said our victories are not significant proves that they are significant. The fact is that Tripoli is now besieged,” said Mohamed, the rebel spokesman.

The rebels made their gains on the heels of the death of their military commander, Gen. Abdul Fatah Younes, who was killed under mysterious circumstances last month. A former member of the regime, he allegedly maintained close ties with the Gadhafis and had been summoned by the rebel council for questioning when he was killed.

On Monday, rebels and representatives of the regime reportedly were holding talks in the Tunisian resort island of Djerba.

Ms. Nuland, the State Department spokesman, said the discussions had been continuing for several weeks.

“They meet periodically in different places. Our understanding is that this latest round is ongoing even today and tonight in Tunisia. But generally, we’re in contact with the [rebel council] after these rounds for an update, and we would expect to be again,” she said.

However, representatives of the National Transitional Council said the council was not participating in the talks.

“There is absolutely no involvement of the council in any negotiations in Tunisia or anywhere else. These are rumors,” said Mr. el-Gamaty.

“Things are at a tipping point in Libya. The regime is much weaker and there is nothing that we in the council want to negotiate with Gadhafi about. He knows what we want,” he added.

Nabil Elarbi, a Libyan activist based in the United States, said conflicting reports on negotiations are likely an attempt by the regime to distract from the rebels’ recent victories.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.

 

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