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Al-Aziziya compound totally falls, Gaddafi says withdrawal "tactical"

(Xinhua)

14:40, August 24, 2011


Libyan rebel fighters celebrate after their entering the Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli August 23, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

TRIPOLI, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Libyan rebels Tuesday captured Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in the center of the capital Tripoli after heavy fighting, while the whereabouts of the embattled Libyan leader and his sons remain unknown.

However, the Libyan leader said through a local Tripoli radio station on Wednesday that his withdrawal from al-Aziziya compound was a "tactical move," and vowed resistance would continue.

GADDAFI: WITHDRAWAL "TACTICAL MOVE"

Gaddafi said Wednesday that his withdrawal from his Bab al-Aziziya headquarters was a "tactical move" after the compound was levelled by 64 NATO air strikes.

Speaking in an address on a local Tripoli radio station, which was reported by Al-Orouba TV, Gaddafi also vowed "death or victory" in his fight against NATO.

Gaddafi's spokesman Moussa Ibrahim on Wednesday also told the satellite channels Al-Orouba and al-Raiby by telephone that the Libyan leader was ready to resist rebels who have seized the Libyan capital Tripoli for "months, or even years," and vowed to turn Libya into "volcanoes, lava and fire."

Four hundred people were killed and 2,000 wounded in three days of fighting between rebels and government forces in Tripoli, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the rebel-led National Transitional Council (NTC), told France-24 television on Wednesday.

He also said that some 600 pro-Gaddafi fighters had been captured, adding that the battle would not be over until Gaddafi himself was a prisoner.

Meanwhile, head of the Russian chess federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said the Libyan leader, along with his son Mohammed, told him via phone he was still in Tripoli and did not intend to leave the country.

Saif al-Islam, the well-known son of Gaddafi, who was said to be in the hands of the rebels, also appeared at the Rixos hotel before dozens of foreign journalists on Tuesday.
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