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Libya's NTC moves to Tripoli as details of Gaddafi's bid to save regime revealed

New documents also reveal that Gaddafi’s adopted daughter, thought to have died 25 years ago, is alive.

The Libyan NTC holds a press conference in Tripoli last night.
The Libyan NTC holds a press conference in Tripoli last night.
Image: AP Photo/Giulio Petrocco

THE LIBYAN NATIONAL Transitional Council (NTC) has moved its interim government from the eastern city of Benghazi to the country’s capital Tripoli, proclaiming the city free.

Heavy fighting continues in parts of the capital and the country still controlled by forces loyal to the seemingly ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

But at a news conference in Tripoli held yesterday evening, NTC Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni told a news conference:

“We can start rebuilding our country, He (Gaddafi) is the one who is basically in the sewer, moving from one sewer to another.
“In the name of the martyrs … I proclaim the beginning … of the work of the executive office in a free Tripoli as of this moment.
I have a final message for everyone who is still carrying arms against the revolution to let go of their arms and go back to their homes, and we promise not to take revenge against them.

Before daybreak this morning, rebels exchanged heavy fire with fighters loyal to Gaddafi who have been holed up in residential buildings in the Tripoli neighborhood of Abu Salim, a regime stronghold.

Smoke rose from the area of Abu Salim, and heavy machine gun fire and loud booms were heard across Tripoli before dawn.

Gaddafi is still on the run, but details of his last desperate attempts to hold onto power have been revealed in documents reported on in the Guardian newspaper this morning.

The paper claims  the documents show how Gaddafi and his loyalists carried out “an extraordinary clandestine lobbying operation” in the belief that that internationalal forces who co-ordianted the crucial NATO bombing campaign would put troops on the ground in the country by late September or early October.

The documents show how the regime tried to lobby a US congressman and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who opposed the NATO action in Libya, to visit the country. The congressman declined.

Letters were also sent by the Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi to president Barack Obama and to other leading US senators.

Evidence of paranoia, stockpiling large amounts of supplies and a surprisingly well-informed but now fallen Libyan regime has also emerged from the documents the paper reports.

Elsewhere, Mary Fitzgerald reports in today’s Irish Times that documents appear to show that Gaddafi’s adopted daughter Hana Muammar Gaddafi, who was thought to have died in a 1986 US bombing of the Bab al-Aziziya compound, is in fact alive.

It’s not the first time this has been reported wih leaked Swiss government documents uncovered earlier this month showing Hana was not killed in the air strike, according to the Telegraph, which said that Hana was a doctor who was working for the country’s health ministry.

- additional reporting from AP

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Hugh O'Connell

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