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Libyan rebels use Skype to contact covert opposition in Tripoli

Rebel council claims it is in contact with a 100-person-strong underground network in Tripoli to gauge morale in the capital.

Image: AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

LIBYAN REBELS in the east of the country are using Skype and satellite phones to contact an underground network of anti-government opposition in the capital Tripoli.

The BBC reports that the National Transitional Council, based in the rebel stronghold city Benghazi, said they were holding secret talks to gauge the impact of NATO’s airstrikes on the capital. They say they are in contact with over 100 people in Tripoli every night.

They say the network has not been discovered because no one has been arrested over it yet.

NATO is continuing its UN-mandated aerial military action against Libya. Last weekend, Libyan officials claimed NATO hit a residential area and killed several civilians. Gaddafi subsequently branded the coalition forces “murderers” and said he and his forces would continue fighting with their backs against the wall “until you’re wiped out”.

NATO said it regretted the loss of civilian life and was investigating the civilian death claims, but its Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that its campaign was protecting civilians. Despite Italy’s calls for an immediate suspension of the airstrikes, Rasmussen said they would continue.

The Wall Street Journal reports that US intelligence claims that Gaddafi is “seriously considering” fleeing Tripoli because he no longer feels safe there. Yesterday, hundreds of the Libyan leader’s supporters gathered in the city, vowing to defend Gaddafi against the rebels and NATO forces.

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Judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague will rule on Monday on whether to arrest Gaddafi for allegedly orchestrating attacks on civilians.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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