Gaddafi meets tribal heads as NATO airstrikes continue

16:16, May 12, 2011      

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Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has met tribal leaders from the country's east here as NATO airstrikes continue to pummel the capital.

Video broadcast on Libyan state TV Wednesday night showed Gaddafi talking with what the broadcast said were tribal leaders in a hotel in Tripoli. The date of the meeting was not provided but some news reports suggested it might have been Wednesday.

It was Gaddafi's first public appearance since his youngest son, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, and three of his grandchildren were killed in a NATO strike on April 30.

Gaddafi has ruled out the possibility that he will quit and leave Libya, which he has ruled for the past 41 years.

Libyan rebels said in a statement Wednesday that members of Libyan local councils support the opposition Interim Transitional National Council and would counter the regime's attempts to cause division in the country.

They said local councils representing the western, central and southern regions of Libya announced their "unequivocal allegiance to, and trust in" the opposition group and its leader, Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

The rebels also said they had captured the airport of the western city of Misrata after days of fierce clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces.
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