Free Headline Alerts     
Worldwide Web


Monday, August 22, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Libyan rebels attack Tripoli in first coordinated operation with NATO

CAIRO — Libyan rebels, waging what could be a final battle in Tripoli, have reported their first attack in coordination with NATO.


Libyan rebels said forces conducted their first strike with NATO in Tripoli and captured two of the sons of Col. Moammar Gadhafi. They said NATO provided air support for a rebel ground operation around the Libyan capital on late Aug. 20 and predicted an imminent collapse of the Gadhafi regime.

"We planned this operation with NATO, our Arab associates and our rebel fighters in Tripoli with commanders in Benghazi," Libyan National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil said.

Also In This Edition

In an interview with Qatar's Al Jazeera satellite channel, Abdul Jalil said rebel forces attacked Tripoli in an operation that also activated sleeper cells. He said NATO struck Gadhafi facilities throughout Tripoli in support of the rebels.

The rebels were said to have fired mortars and light weapons in several neighborhoods in Tripoli while additional anti-Gadhafi forces reached the city. They said the initial attack, part of what was called Operation Mermaid, was conducted by a rebel force supplied by tugboats sent to Tripoli on Aug. 19.

"The fighters in Tripoli are rising up in two places at the moment," rebel commander Col. Fadlallah Haroun said. "Some are in the Tajoura neighborhood, and the other is near the Matiga [international] airport."

The Gadhafi regime has acknowledged rebel operations in Tripoli. By late Aug. 21, Gadhafi himself confirmed that rebels reached Tripoli and called on civilians to grab weapons and fight for the regime.

"I am giving the order to open the weapons stockpiles," Gadhafi said in his second broadcast within 24 hours. "I call on all Libyans to join this fight. Those who are afraid, give your weapons to your mothers or sisters."

NATO has refused to confirm what officials termed "formal coordination" with the Libyan rebels. But the Western alliance said it was monitoring the Libyan Army and attacking remnants of Gadhafi's forces, which continued to fight on Aug. 22.

"We will continue to monitor military units and key facilities, as we have since March, and when we see any threatening moves towards the Libyan people, we will act in accordance with our United Nation mandate," NATO secretary-general Anders Rasmussen said on Aug. 22. "Our goal throughout this conflict has been to protect the people of Libya, and that is what we are doing."

The rebels have reported the capture of Zawiya as well as a military base 25 kilometers from Tripoli. The base, which fell with little resistance, was said to have housed the army's 32nd Brigade, commanded by Gadhafi's son, Khamis. Two of Gadhafi's sons — Mohammed and Seif Al Islam — were already reported in rebel hands, while their father was said to have remained in Tripoli.

"We have confirmed information that our people have captured Seif Al Islam," Abdul Jalil said. "We have given instructions to treat him well so that he can face trial."

About Us     l    Privacy     l     l
Copyright © 2011    East West Services, Inc.    All rights reserved.