LIVE: Libyan Unrest: Misrata port cleared of Gaddafi forces, ready to receive humanitarian aid

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. Also check out the featured twitters on the sidebar. On the Go? -Follow us on Twitter @Feb17Libya for the same live updates.

All updates are in Libyan local time (GMT +2).

That’s it for Live Coverage on March 24, 2011. — stay tuned on the homepage for Live Updates on March 25.

AJ correspondent James Bays reports on the desperate conditions for people who have chosen to stay in Ajdabiya, a city which has been fought over for more than two weeks.

 

China reaches out to Germany on Libya: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi laid out China’s “principled stance” about the U.N.-authorized military campaign against  the embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a telephone call on Thursday with the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry website (www.mfa.gov.cn).

Westerwelle will visit China next week for talks that appear sure to cover the crisis in Libya. Although Beijing and Berlin have often traded barbs on human rights, trade and security, they have found some common ground in shared misgivings about the Western air campaign against Gaddafi.

Libyan television footage shows a serious fire after allied air attacks on what the TV report said was a military base in the capital, Tripoli, badly damaging military vehicles. Wonder who actually caused this fire.

Today, at least 18 doctors and nurses from an organization funded by US AID arrived in Beghazi today.

 

Omar Ahmed Sodani, the man suspected of murdering PC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984, has been arrested by rebel forces in the country and is in custody in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Yvonne FletcherPC Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot outside the Libyan embassy in London in April 1984 and died shortly after. Photograph: PA

3:10AM: Al-Jazeera reporter Anita McNaught, in Tripoli, says she has heard less military action in the city tonight than the previous five nights since the no-fly zone was imposed.

2:21AM: Here’s a video recording of Secretary Clinton’s statements about the crisis in Libya earlier today:

Source: CNN

2:08AM: EU Council President Herman von Rompuy after talks in Brussels: “From the beginning of the crisis, the European Union was at the forefront imposing tough sanctions. Today we decided that we are ready to adopt further sanctions, including measures to ensure that oil and gas revenues do not reach the Gaddafi
regime. Member states will ask the United Nations to do the same.”

2:05AM: Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught, in Tripoli, says the lives of the Libyans are getting “harder by the day” as many petrol stations and shops are shut and many people stay at home because they fear airstrikes.

1:48AM: French President Nicolas Sarkozy says international action in Libya must “remain eminently political”, whatever Nato’s role, AFP reports. Mr Sarkozy also claims that international action has saved “thousands and thousands” of lives.

1:42AM: CNN’s Nic Robertson describes a media trip gone wrong in Tripoli, when they could not find a civilian house that the Libyan government claimed was bombed by Coalition forces:

1:35AM: A doctor in Misrata gives Feb17voices an overview of the situation in Misrata hospitals and talks about captured female snipers:
Listen!

via Feb17Voices

 

1:27AM:Here’s a full quote from Hillary Clinton’s recent statement: “Nato is well suited to co-ordinating this international effort and insuring that all participating nations are working effectively together towards our shared goals. This coalition includes countries beyond Nato, including Arab partners, and we expect all of them to be providing important political guidance going forward.”

1:17AM: AFP is reporting a statement from EU leaders saying they are “ready” to prevent oil and gas revenues from reaching Col Gaddafi’s regime.

1:04AM: Secretary Clinton says that “in only five days, we have made significant progress”. She also said that Gadhafi forces remain a “serious threat” to Libyan civilians. She notes that the US has agreed to a transition of the no-fly zone to NATO, but will also involve other nations including Arab nations, that the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya, and that humanitarian relief beginning to reach people, including a group of medics in Benghazi.

12:38AM: A US official has told AFP that the United Arab Emirates has contributed 12 warplanes to the military coalition over Libya.

12:33AM: The Nato chief said the organisation had agreed to enforce a no-fly zone in order to protect civilians. He said Nato’s mandate did not go beyond that, though it could act in self-defense, Reuters reports.

12:03AM: A video released by the Misrata Freedom Group used to prove that the Misrata port is now free of any Gaddafi forces. Summary below the video:

The speaker is giving today’s date, saying the port is NOT in the hands of Gaddafi’s troops as per some news sources and that supplies should start coming in since the port is in the hands of the good guys. He also says that they should come and transport the non libyans waiting in the port area to get out.


Libyan-American rapper Khaled M. discusses the crisis in Libya with NBC’s “The Talk”

11:43PM: Sky News searches for, but of course does not find, a house that the Libyan government claimed was bombed by coalition forces:

11:37PM: No deal on Nato taking over the leadership role for military action against Libya – it appears Turkey remains unhappy at the terms being proposed and has objected, so a deal is still being worked out tonight.

11:33PM: Libyan state television says Western air strikes targeted residential and military areas in the capital Tripoli and Tajoura. It did not specify whether it was referring to the Tripoli district of Tajoura. Reuters reporters in central Tripoli heard a distant explosion followed by rounds of anti-aircraft and tracer fire above the capital.

 

10:42pm:There are no signs that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s government is complying with U.N. Security Council demands for an immediate cease-fire, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday. Read what else he had to say here.

10:15pm:The Pentagon spokesman says 350 aircraft – half of them American – are involved in operations over Libya, and that there is no evidence that any civilian casualties have been caused by these missions; however, he adds, there are suggestions that attacks by regime forces have caused civilian casualties.

10:12pm:A Pentagon spokesman, briefing reporters in Washington, says: “Let me be clear – when and where regime forces threaten the lives of civilians they will be attacked… Our message to the regime troops is simple – stop fighting, stop obeying Colonel Gaddafi’s orders

10:02pm:AFP says Libyan state television is reporting that “civilian and military sites in Tripoli and (the eastern suburb of) Tajura” have come under fire from “long-range missiles”.

9:46pm: AFP reports anti-aircraft fire over Tripoli and at least three explosions shaking the Libyan capital.

9:38pm:Six F-16’s from the Netherlands have arrived on the Italian island of Sardinia. The jets will be patrolling the Mediterranean to enforce the arms-embargo against Libya. They will not take part in combat missions

9:36pm:UN chief Ban Ki-moon says there are no signs that the Libyan government is complying with UN Security Council demands for an immediate ceasefire.

9:30pm: The Libyan government has welcomed a call by Uganda’s president to hold an extraordinary African Union summit on the situation in Libya, state TV in Tripoli has said

9:22pm: Libyan rebels plead — send us guns. One Libyan man says: ”We need arms and ammunition. This is our only problem,” he said in a briefing. “Our friends are trying to support us. I hope soon we will have success and we will have all the weapons we need to liberate Libya.” Read the story here

9:15pm:UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is making a statement on Libya. He says it’s important for international community to speak with one voice

8:45PM: Turkey’s foreign minister is being quoted as saying Nato will take command of the Libya operation, AP reports. He has told TRT television that Turkey’s demands had been met and Nato will take command of the Libya military operation. Nato needs the approval of all its members and Turkey had set conditions. So far there is no independent confirmation of the statement.

8:29PM: At least 109 people have been killed in the rebel-held city of Misurata and more than 1,300 wounded in a week of attacks by forces loyal to Gaddafi, a doctor in the city told AFP news agency. The doctor working in Misurata’s state hospital said on condition of anonymity:

Attacks by Gaddafi forces since last Friday have killed 109 people and wounded 1,300 others, 81 of whom are in serious condition.

On Thursday alone “four martyrs fell because of sniper fire,” he added.

 

8:15PM: The disappearance of hundreds of people in Libya over the past few months may amount to a crime against humanity, UN human rights expert Olivier de Frouville has told the Associated Press.

8:01PM: The Libyan government is expecting coalition raids against telecom centres and radio stations, a government spokesman is quoted as saying by AFP.

7:56PM: Coalition tells opposition forces it will secure safe passage for aid ships from Malta to Misrata to dock, according to Reuters. Reuters also quotes a member of the opposition as claiming a major success – killing 30 government snipers in Misrata. He also says that all Libyan government military vessels have abandoned the port.

 

7:51PM: Read our expert’s military opinion of recent videos here.

 

7:48PM: AFP quotes a doctor as saying 109 people have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded in a week in the city of Misrata, which is being fought over by pro-Gaddafi forces and opposition forces.

7:44PM:A Libyan government official says “about 100″ people have been killed by allied bombing, AFP reports. It is unclear if this refers to civilian or military casualties

7:42PM:The African Union has invited representatives of Colonel Gaddafi’s government, the Libyan opposition and others to talks in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa this Friday, Reuters quotes AU chairman Jean Ping as saying.

7:39PM: Rebels are in striking distance of the gates of Ajdabiya in their attempt to retake the strategic eastern town from government troops, AFP reports. One of the agency’s journalists says hundreds of fighters are marching on the city, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Benghazi, Libya’s second city and the rebels’ stronghold.

7:20 pm: “This may be a first for the Arab world: An American airman who bailed out over Libya was rescued from his hiding place in a sheep pen by villagers who hugged him, served him juice and thanked him effusively for bombing their country…”.

6:50pm: African Union’s Ping invites reps of Gaddafi govt, UN council, EU, Arab neighbours to Libya talks Friday in Addis Ababba

6:45pm: In Turkey, parliament approves government decision to participate in NATO naval operation off of Libya.

6:32pm: French Officials confirm that French warplanes have destroyed a Libyan plane which had been flying in breach of the UN no-fly zone. The plane, a smaller trainer aircraft, had just landed in the besieged city of Misrata when it was attacked, they say.It is the first incident of its kind since enforcement of the zone began.

ABC News reported earlier that  the Libyan warplane that was allegedly shot down by French fighter jets today was a Galeb, single-engine military aircraft. To learn more about Galeb aircrafts read here.

5:45pm: Detained government soldiers and suspected mercenaries are kept in a former military prison near Benghazi, now taken over by rebels. Some of the men admit to serving with Gaddafi’s forces, but say they had no other choice, but to fire at rebels and civilians during battles for cities in the east of the country:

Abul Majid Mohammed, who served in the Al Fadila Battalion of the army, told Reuters news agency:

If anybody refused to open fire they would kill them, or burn them alive and on our eyes they killed soldiers who refused to fight.

File 17711
[Photo Reuters]

5:25pm: An unnamed US official tells AP news agency a French fighter jet which reportedly shot down a Libyan plane may have been a military trainer aircraft. He says the Libyan plane may have been landing at the time of the attack.

 

5:15pm: The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor has told the Associated Press news agency that he is “100%” certain that his investigation into attacks on Libyan protesters will lead to crimes against humanity charges against Col Gaddafi’s government.

5:06pm: Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said in Tel Aviv that the Arab uprisings will prove positive in “long-run”.

5:00 pm: Jordan says its assistance to the international coalition action against the Libyan regime will be solely humanitarian. Information Minister Taher Adwan told AFP news agency:

“We will provide ambulances or humanitarian aid. We will not take part in actions on the ground in Libya”

Adwan comment comes a day after British prime minister David Cameron said Kuwait and Amman will provide “logistic contributions”.

4:25pm: The French defence ministry says it will not confirm ABC reports of a Libyan plane being shot down. They say they’ll put out a bulletin later on all today’s operations, and are withholding info for now “to avoid the misreporting of events that are still unclear”.

4:19pm: Sixty-four per cent of Russians don’t back the international military action in Libya, according to an opinion poll in that country. Russia abstained in last week’s UN Security Council vote, which paved the way for intervention.

4:10pm: Italy could offer warships and more planes for operations in Libya on top of four Tornado bombers and four F-16 fighter jets it has already deployed, Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa says, according to AFP news agency.

4:05pm: Libyan state TV continues its pro-Gaddafi coverage, emphasising its claim that coalition air strikes have targeted innocent civilians in Tripoli and elsewhere, and people were now invited to funeral prayers for these “martyrs”. The allies say civilians have been spared in the air raids.

3:53pm: Latest on that ABC News report about a Libyan air force jet shot down for violating no-fly zone: it was a single-engine Galeb, apparently. Still no confirmation of that report.

3:49pm: Six Dutch F-16’s are about to depart from the Netherlands to the Italian island of Sardinia, from where they will be part of the international alliance enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya. The Dutch ministry of defence stresses that the jets will not be used for attack purposes.

3:47pm: Fourteen Tomahawk missiles were launched overnight in Libya by the allies, says a spokesman for US Africa Command in Germany.

3:42pm: A Tripoli resident, unnamed for obvious reasons, tells BBC’s Newshour: “I’m not exaggerating if I say tens of thousands of young people are arrested. Look, we cannot even now stay close to each other, three or four people, for a couple of minutes talking or chatting, I mean it’s very dangerous.

3:16pm: Ever wondered what military operation monikers – such as Odyssey Dawn, ELLAMY and Harmattan – mean? So have we.

3:02pm: ABC anchorman David Muir tweets: “#BREAKING ABC’s Martha Raddatz:#Gadhafi sends up first warplane violating no fly zone — plane is shot down by French fighter jets.”

2:59pm: ABC News are reporting that a French fighter jet has shot down a Libyan air force jet which was violating the no-fly zone.

2:58pm: Heba in London writes: “As a fellow Libyan national, it is heart-rending what I see in my country. The everyday murdering of my countrymen by Gaddafi’s people is to be condemned. We fully support the international “no-fly zone”, this is the only chance for us to survive. We need to work on breaking down Gaddafi’s arms and his military capabilities, even if it takes weeks.” Have Your Say

2:49pm: Mr Hague tells the House: “It is not for us to choose the government of Libya – that is for the Libyan people themselves. But they have a far greater chance of making that choice now than seemed likely on Saturday, when the opposition forces were on the verge of defeat and the lives of so many were in danger.”

2:48pm: UK forces have undertaken 59 aerial missions over Libyan in addition to air and missile strikes. Operations are being carried out under US control, says Mr Hague, but Britain wants to see a “transition to NATO command and control as quickly as possible”

2:39pm: British Foreign Secretary William Hague is giving a statement to the House of Commons on the unrest. He says the intervention remains utterly compelling. “Appalling violence against Libyan civilians continues to take place, exposing the regime’s claim to have ordered a ceasefire to be an utter sham,” says Mr Hague. He adds that there has been “universal condemnation of what the Libyan regime is doing”, from the UN, Arab League, African Union and EU. “The regime’s action is strengthening our resolve to continue our current operations and our support for the work of the International Criminal Court. Our action is saving lives and is protecting hundreds of thousands of civilians in Benghazi and Misrata from the fate that otherwise awaited them”. Coalition troops are “taking the utmost care to minimise the risk of civilian casualties,” says Mr Hague. “The only forces acting indiscriminately or deliberately inflicting civilian casualties are the forces of the Gaddafi regime”.

2:30pm: The BBC’s World Affairs correspondent John Simpson, says reporting restrictions mean it is very hard to tell from Tripoli what is going on elsewhere in the country. But he says people in government appear to have become more confident that Col Gaddafi and the system can survive, at least in Tripoli and the surrounding areas. “That’s something new, because I’m sure a few days ago they were very much less secure in the their own minds.”

The US Naval Institute has released his handy map showing the location and nationality of the international forces brought to bear against Gaddafi:

2:27pm: The International Labour Organization (ILO) says there are still an estimated 800,000 foreign workers in Libya, AFP reports Revolutionary ready to fight Gaddafi forces

2:07pm: A Libyan energy officials tells Reuters the country is low on fuel and needs imports to deal with the shortages. The official told Reuters a ship was on its way to Libya with fuel but could be stopped or bombed by the coalition action.

1:59pm: The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris says French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet was careful to define the limits of the coalition’s powers in his press conference earlier. Mr Longuet urged coalition partners to remain patient with the operation, telling them “We must stay calm. We have the means to carry on. Col Gaddafi does not.”

1:55pm: Mohamed, at a polyclinic in Misrata, has just told the BBC: “We are without running water, electricity and communications for the tenth day now. My heart is broken by the carnage I have seen. Four boys died in my neighbourhood and I had to go to the funerals. I feel for them. But I feel a sense of freedom that I have never felt in Libya.”

1:48: Witnesses have told AFP that air strikes have been carried out on the Gaddafi-stronghold of Sebha overnight and on Thursday morning.

1:30pm: French military official Thierry Burkhard has told reporters a coalition strike overnight hit an air base 250km (155 miles) south of Libya’s coastline, the deepest strike into the country so far. Mr Burkhard did not say where exactly the strike took place but said it had threatened the population and that he was certain there had been no “collateral damage”. “The Libyan army is regrouping and reorganising,” he said. “But obviously we can stay that a massive capacity of the Libyan army has been degraded, reduced and weakened.”

1:26pm: The head of Nato’s naval blockade of Libya, Italian Vice Adm Rinaldo Veri, has said the operation is cutting off the “easiest, fastest and most direct way” for people to bring weapons into Libya. “I hope we can close all the windows, but one thing is sure: we are closing the main front door,” he told reporters. Vice Adm Veri said the mission would use “every means necessary” to keep weapons from reaching Libya. “If we suspect a ship is attempting to breach the embargo it may be necessary to send armed military aboard. If we encounter resistance, the use of force may be necessary,” he said.

1:17pm: British Prime Minister David Cameron commented that the remits of the UN resolution must not be exceeded was in response to a question about whether Col Gaddafi was a legitimate target for coalition attacks, Reuters reports. Mr Cameron also said the military intervention had “helped to avoid a slaughter” in Benghazi.

1:12pm: France’s Defence Minister Gerard Longuet has said the military intervention makes no sense if it is not paired with political intervention. “The military intervention is there because we have a political project. It is to discuss and build a different future for the Libyan people,” he said. Mr Longuet said the foreign powers were not “masters of this situation” and did not have a deadline. The aim of the coalition, he said, was to “encourage the emergence of a dialogue: a Libyan dialogue”.

1:08pm: China has called on all sides to observe a ceasefire in Libya. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the aim of the UN resolution – which Beijing abstained from voting on – was “to provide humanitarian protection rather than creating an even greater humanitarian crisis”. She said the “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya should be respected”.

1:01pm: In an on-screen caption, Libya’s Al-Jamahiriya state TV says civilian and military sites in Tripoli’s Tajura district are “now being subjected to bombing by the colonialist, crusader aggressor”.

12:56pm: Kim Sengupta of the Independent newspaper is in the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi and has been making regular visits to the front line. He told the BBC World Service the rebels are poorly organisation and lacking in military skill. “Frankly, they have not shown much inclination to take on the enemy. They have, probably, spent about four times as much of the ammunition firing into the air than they have fired in anger. They are not trained fighters.”

12:47pm: Residents of Misrata have told Reuters the city is facing a “humanitarian crisis” after the port was reportedly seized by pro-Gaddafi troops. “There are more than 6,000 Egyptian workers, some with their families, plus some African workers, who are now in the port. They went there waiting for a ship to move them but nobody is coming,” said one man. The witness said the regime had sent two warships and several boats to the port. “They have besieged us from from the sea,” he said. “They haven’t attacked but if they do, the thousands of workers will be the first victims.”

12:42pm: The BBC’s John Simpson in Tripoli says Libya still appears to be divided between the east and the west. The rebels have “all the enthusiasm in the world”, he says, but do not have the organisation or weapons of the regime. The pro-Gaddafi troops, however, have weapons but don’t have the same mass support or spirit.

12:28pm:The BBC’s Jon Sopel at the allied air hub of Giola del Colle, in Italy, says yesterday’s coalition claim they control the skies above Libya makes it all the more interesting that there were fresh cruise missile strikes overnight, apparently targeting Libyan air defences. He says it would seem the allies have found some threat remains.BBC correspondent also spoke to an RAF Tornado pilot, who said air superiority in Libya will allow those jets to fly safer at a much lower altitude and identify Gaddafi tanks on the ground to attack.

11:28am: Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic snapped this photograph on Monday. It shows a rebel gunman at a checkpoint aiming his AK-47 at a man protecting another man who the fighter believes is a Gaddafi sympathizer, and shows how fluid the situation in Libya can be.

11:24am: Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley follows up on the story of Ahmed Mohammed, a boy shot in the chest during Gaddafi’s final push on Benghazi on Saturday morning, before Western warplanes began enforcing the no-fly, no-drive zone:

11:11am: Libyan state Al-Jamahiriya TV says in regular news broadcast that “civilian and military” targets in Tripoli were bombed after dawn today by allied forces. The report showed footage of people injured in hospital and some body bags with what appeared to be corpses, one apparently an older woman. The pictures can’t be independently verified.

11:05am: Al Jazeera’s Lawrence Lee says 28 ambassadors to NATO have just begun their fourth-straight day of negotiations to determine whether and how NATO can assume command of the military intervention against Gaddafi.

10:43am: Tunisia has joined the United States and European Union in freezing Libyan assets, an anonymous Tunisian government source told Reuters today. Tunisia froze assets belong to Gaddafi and five of his family members.

10:29am:The top NATO military commander, US admiral James Stavridis, is in Turkey today, the AP reports. He is meeting with high-ranking military officers a day after discussing operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya with Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Objections by Turkey, a NATO member, are reported to be one reason why the western military alliance has not been able to agree about taking over command of the military campaign against the Gaddafi regime.

9:55am:The Telegraph newspaper’s Rob Crilly wrote a short dispatch last night from Benghazi, describing the effort by rebels to root out Gaddafi “sleeper cells” in the area. Young gunmen haul three men and a woman from a car at a roadblock at night, beat them, interrogate them and take them away to an “uncertain fate”.

9:56AM:Libya’s fairly tight-lipped opposition national council has opened up, or at least one of its members has. US-educated Ali Tarhouni, the newly appointed finance minister for the council, spoke with reporters last night and revealed that the rebel army consists of only around 1,000 trained men. (He apparently didn’t mention how many untrained volunteers are involved in the fighting.) Until now, the opposition has kept military details under wraps. Tarhouni admitted shortcomings in the rebel’s pell-mell ascent to power in the east. Tarhouni also said the rebels don’t have a cash crisis, despite being cut off from Tripoli. Countries have agreed to give the rebels credit, including the United Kingdom, which will give $1.1 billion, he claimed.

9:35AM:Check out a video of the aftermath after Gaddafi forces attacked Zintan here.

9:33AM:The BBC’s John Simpson in Tripoli says there have been explosions overnight in the Libyan capital. One particularly loud blast came from the direction of a military base. He says there are also suggestions Gaddafi tanks and artillery have resumed their assault under cover of darkness on rebel-held Misrata.

8:29AM:

More than 290,000 people have fled Libya due to the conflict there, and another 600,000 still inside the country are in need of humanitarian assistance, the International Medical Corps  said in a statement released on Tuesday. Libya’s border with Tunisia remains closed, but IMC is sending supplies through. In the east, IMC is still trying to reach Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, the scene of fighting for the past week. A team from Doctors Without Borders, which left Libya last week as Gaddafi’s forces neared Benghazi, is waiting for a guarantee from all parties “that medical staff will be respected and allowed to work freely” before it returns.

8:23AM: NATO member states will meet again in Brussels later on Thursday, after a third day of negotiations failed to agree on who will direct the military operation in Libya when the US relinquishes control. France is still resisting pressure to place NATO in full command. David Schenker, who directs the program on Arab politics at the Washington Institute, has told the BBC: “It’s an odd dynamic. You have the French trying to set up an unprecedented war council, including the input of the Arab countries. I think that you will hear a lot of complaints from the US Congress about chain of command, about whether this is NATO, whether we should be part of this.”

8:16AM: Watch footage of Gaddafi forces killed by coalition air strikes in West Benghazi here.

7:41AM: Sixty percent of Americans support the allied military action in Libya to impose a no-fly zone to protect civilians, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday has found. Of those polled, 48% described President Barack Obama’s military leadership as “cautious and consultative”, 36% as “indecisive and dithering”, and 17% as “strong and decisive”. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed said the US and its allies should try to remove Col Gaddafi. But only 7% supported deploying ground troops.

7:16AM: An Al-Jazeera journalist in the east reports that Ajdabiya Hospital is under “regular attack” these days and that most of the doctors have left.

7:13AM: Libyan regime officials took journalists on a trip yesterday to the town of Bani Walid, around 150km southeast of Tripoli, to demonstrate support for Gaddafi in the area, according to the AP. The Warfalla tribe, Libya’s largest, is strong in Bani Walid. Some residents told reporters they had recently received weapons from the regime, which has also distributed money to the Warfalla, according to western intelligence sources, the AP said.

6:47AM: There have been more explosions and anti-aircraft gunfire in Tripoli, the AFP news agency reports.

6:23AM: Opposition sources in Misrata tell Al-Jazeera that the latest casualty figures from the western city are 14 dead and 23 injured.

6:05AM: Libyan officials took journalists to a Tripoli hospital early on Thursday to see what they said were the charred bodies of 18 military personnel and civilians killed by Western warplanes or missiles overnight.

5:53AM: A doctor in Misrata told the Associated Press that the air strikes had targeted an aviation academy and a vacant lot outside the central hospital. He also said Col Gaddafi’s tanks had left the western city afterwards, giving residents a much-needed reprieve. “Today, for the first time in a week, the bakeries opened their doors,” he added.

 

5:51AM:The Libyan Transitional council has released new statement on march 23 read here

5:34AM:Coalition aircraft attacked a fuel depot in Tripoli on Wednesday night, Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim has told reporters, according to the Associated Press. Other targets on Wednesday were near Benghazi and Misrata, Mr Kaim said.

Mr Kaim also condemned the air and missile strikes for not differentiating between civilians and military personnel. “To start up the national dialogue and get life back to normal, the air strikes should stop immediately,” he added. “Today, there have not been any attacks from Libyan forces, from the air or from the ground. And there are no military operations on the ground in Misrata. The situation is just confined to a number of pockets of violence and snipers scattered in different areas of Misrata.”

 

Map: Current Developments in the unrest in Libya

4:24 am:Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim has denied allegations that the government has cut off water and electricity supplies to Misurata. “We heard those rumours that the government has intentionally cut off supplies,” said . “It’s just a technical problem because of damage and looting.”

Misurata residents say the city is under attack by government forces who have severed their basic supplies and effectively besieged the last major opposition holdout in western Libya.

Omar al-Mislati, planning manager for the state water company, said up to 70,000 out of 300,000 people in Misurata had no access to water due a technical problem and damage caused by some of the fighting.

Video:NBC’s Richard Engel Almost Shot In Benghazi, Libya

 

Another

Live call from Misrata via Feb17voices:

 

A doctor in the city says “Tank fired on building ‘very close’ (10-20m) to hospital, states hospital has power, a generator.”

 

3:34am: ABC Radio in Australia Reports: A man from Misurata says the town is suffering & running out of supplies. Listen:

 

3:19am:More on that reported explosion in Tripoli. Residents tell Reuters: “We heard another explosion just now. We see smoke rising. There are people on rooftops. It seems to be in a military area near the engineering college.

 

3:15am:Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the conflict in Libya may spur sales of a £65m ($106m) Eurofighter warplane.

 

3:12am:Residents report hearing a loud explosion in the Tripoli area, Reuters says.

Live: Libyan Unrest: Presidential Address – “History is not on Gaddafis Side”

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. Also check out the featured twitters on the sidebar. On the Go? -Follow us on Twitter @Feb17Libya for the same live updates.

All updates are in Libyan local time (GMT +2)

6:05AM: The Youth Coalition of the February 17th Revolution in Tripoli have released to us a declaration in support of the National Transitional Council and called out to all the sons of Tripoli, the scholars, dignitaries and national guards to be ready to fill up the ranks for the start of Libya’s new beginning. Read it here.

4:38AM: Amnesty International says Gaddafi’s government is sweeping up bloggers, journalists and even teenage protesters as it tries to crush the rebellion in Libya. The human rights group says it knows of 30 people who have disappeared. It fears Gaddafi’s forces have taken them to his strongholds in Western Libya. Many of the detainees are well-known dissidents. But four teenage boys were seized as they and other protesters swarmed into a military compound on Feb. 20 in Benghazi.

4:05AM: Reports coming in that Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa is currently in Tunisia on a private visit:

4:02AM: Maher’s Zain new music video, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and across the Arab world:

 

3:24AM: Libyan television broadcast on Tuesday what it said was live footage of leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Khamis greeting supporters at his father’s compound in Tripoli, according to Reuters. A TV anchor said the images, which showed a man with a striking resemblance to Khamis Gaddafi, refuted reports in the Arab media and on the Internet that he was killed by a disaffected air force pilot who flew his plane into Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound. Read more here.

Libyan officials say such reports are part of a

“There will be times when our safety is not directly threatened but our interests and values are”. In case you missed the Presidential Address:

 

Libya Live Latest

12:41pm: A BBC contact in Misrata says there has been “strong bombing” in the direction of the port. He believes Libyan warships may be shelling the port “because this is the only remaining portal for international aid”. There is no way of verifying the information.

12:25pm: A presenter on Libya’s state-run Al-Libiyah TV channel is insisting that “nothing is happening”, that “our state is functioning” and “one day Libyans will laugh at these events”, BBC Monitoring reports.

12:20pm: The Guardian’s Chris McGrealtweets: “watched as #Libya rebels beat hurried retreat after strong govt resistance near Sirte. still relying on air strikes.”

Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught on the latests from Libya

12:15pm: Rome is negotiating an African haven for  Gaddafi according to an article in the Guardian

12:05pm: Libya will soon be “liberated” from Gaddafi, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said, adding that the strongman could give up power under an African Union proposal. Frattini said on La7 television:

“I think that Libya will be liberated quickly and that the situation will be resolved in short notice.”

12:03pm: Tunisia’s official news agency says Libya’s Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa has arrived in Tunisia for a “private visit.” TAP news agency says Koussa crossed into the country on Monday through Ras Jedir border crossing. It quotes Tunisia’s foreign ministry as saying the Libyan foreign minister was on a “private visit” but did not elaborate.

11:57pm: Libyan state TV says “colonial and crusader aggressors” hit civilian and military targets including a leather factory. There is no independent confirmation of the strike.

11:49pm: Libyan rebel radio is meanwhile appealing to people in the western regions to join the revolution, BBC Monitoring reports. “Do not wait for the fall of Gaddafi… do it now,” a presenter says. It is also calling on religious scholars to encourage the young to join. The station referred to Gaddafi as “the tyrant, Draculibya” – a play on the word Dracula.

11:46pm: Libyan state TV is now quoting a military official as saying that coalition forces have bombed the town of Surman, 70km (43 miles) west of Tripoli.

11:44pm: Mr Kaim called on the West to instead work for peace in Libya. “The solution is rather for all the parties to be involved in peacemaking and to become peacemakers,” he told reporters in Tripoli. “I would like especially to call upon on the American President, Barack Obama, and all the other Western leaders within the EU and outside the EU to be peacemakers not warmongers, and not to push Libyans towards a civil war and to more death and destruction in Libya.”

11:43pm: Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim has issued the following message to Western leaders meeting in London on Tuesday: “Libya is an independent country with full sovereignty and the Libyan people are the only ones who have the right to decide the future of the country. Planning the division of Libya or imposing a foreign political system on Libya designed by foreign governments is not acceptable.”

11:39pm: Libya’s two state television channels are showing video of what they call “civilian victims” of the “Crusader colonialist aggression”. BBC Monitoring reports that the tone of coverage on both channels is a mixture of scaremongering and sheer defiance, with a presenter on al-Libiya insisting that “nothing is happening”, that Libya is “fine” and “our state is functioning”, and that “one day Libyans will laugh at these events”. He repeatedly states: “Things are going well”.

11:33pm: Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweets: “Day of preparations for London Libya conference tomorrow. Military steps good. Key also a political and humanitarian offensive.”

11:18pm: Forces loyal to Gaddafi have carried out a campaign of forced disappearances to try to crush opposition to his rule, Amnesty International has said. The human rights group said it had details of more than 30 cases of individuals who had disappeared since before the uprising began in mid-February. Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Malcolm Smart said: “It appears that there is a systematic policy to detain anyone suspected of opposition to Col Gaddafi’s rule, hold them incommunicado, and transfer them to his strongholds in western Libya. Given the circumstances of their enforced disappearance, there is every reason to believe that these individuals are at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment. Col Gaddafi must halt this outrageous campaign and order his forces to abide by international law.”

11:03pm: The Libyan government has said comments made by Gaddafi on 17 March about the people of Benghazi were “mistranslated”. In the radio address, which was used by Western powers to justify their military intervention, he was reported to have told residents of the rebel-held city: “Prepare yourselves from tonight. We will find you in your closets… We will show no mercy and no pity to them.” But officials told a news conference in Tripoli that the Brother Leader was addressing only “terrorists and al-Qaeda affiliates, and not the citizens and the people of the city of Benghazi”. He described them as “the dear and the beloved”, the officials added.

10:53pm: More on the comments made by the head of the Libyan rebel council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, on France 2 TV: “After the victory, we shall try Gaddafi in Libya for all the crimes he has committed,” he said. “The Libyan people have chosen this path, a difficult choice – that of confronting a tyrant. We shall try to build a free and democratic country, which respects human rights and changes in government.” Mr Abdul Jalil, who is expected to attend the conference on Libya in London on Tuesday, thanked the international community for its decisive assistance, while adding that more needed to be done. “We have an urgent need for light arms because fighting is being forced upon us.”

10:45pm: There have been nine large explosions in Tajoura, 30km east of Tripoli, a witness tells the AFP news agency.

Citizens of Benghazi look at photos of dead or missing persons in Liberation square in Benghazi

10:36pm: Vice-Adm Gortney says the Libyan rebel forces are not robust and the gains they have made on the battlefield in recent days are tenuous. The US is not directly supporting the rebels, but they have clearly achieved a military benefit from the coalition’s air strikes, he adds.

10:33pm: Vice-Adm Gortney adds: “We are paying particular attention to the lines of communication, the command and control, the ability to resupply those forces that are most actively attacking civilians. What’s the difference between this and another conflict? The target types are not different, it’s where we are trying to go after them that is different. We are not leaving significant firepower. Anywhere that we can see ammunition storage facilities, things of that nature, we are going after those as well. The targeting objectives from the very first strikes remain the same.”

10:28pm: Asked about the hasty retreat of  Gaddafi’s forces, Vice-Adm Gortney says: “[We do not know] whether it is confusion, whether their supply lines have been over-extended, but we saw a pretty significant shift.”

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid making a hasty escape in Nawfaliya amid fear of approaching pro-Gaddafi forces.

10:16pm: In the last 24 hours, coalition strike aircraft have continued to go after “targets of opportunity” on the ground in Libya, such as regime forces hit near Misrata, Sirte and Ras Lanuf,  Vice-Admiral Gortney says. Six TLAM cruise missiles were launched from the sea against the headquarters of the 32nd brigade, one of Col Gaddafi’s most loyal units and one that has actively attacked civilians, he adds. Ammunition stores and bunkers were struck around Tripoli and Sabha. The coalition has flown 178 sorties, the majority of which were strike-related.

10:14pm: A UN sanctions committee will add new names of individuals and companies to a list of Gaddafi’s Libyan regime facing an assets freeze and travel ban, diplomats said. Gaddafi and his immediate family already top a list of 18 individuals banned from leaving the country and 13 people and five entities whose international assets have been frozen by two UN Security Council resolutions.

Sanctions committee chairman Jose Filipe Cabral, Portugal’s UN envoy, said more names are almost certain to be added. Members of the committee have already said they will be proposing new names, Cabral told the 15-nation Security Council.

10:08pm: Vice-Adm Gortney adds: “”We still have not received a single confirmed of civilian casualties caused by the coalition. We will continue to be just as precise as we can in keeping up the pressure on regime forces, while protecting innocent civilians. I am quite confident that in and around Misrata… We have been and we will be effective at hitting exactly what we are aiming at.”

10:06pm: Vice-Adm William Gortney, director of the US Joint Staff, tells a news conference at the Pentagon: “We now assess that rebel forces are in control of Ajdabiya and have pushed west to within 80 miles of Sirte. We believe the regime is preparing to dig in at Sirte, setting up a number of checkpoints and placing tanks throughout the city. Likewise for Zintan, where we assess the regime is preparing to reinforce existing positions.”

9:55pm: On the eve of a 35-nation conference in London to discuss the situation in Libya, US President Barack Obama is to attempt to explain the US role in the Western air campaign Col Gaddafi in a televised address at 0030 BST (2330 GMT/1930 EST). Mr Obama is expected to hail Nato’s decision to take over responsibility for the operation in Libya as proof that he is making good on his pledge that the US would play only a limited role.

9:36pm: More informative tweets from CNN’s Nic Robertson over his government-organised visit to “liberated” Misurata.

“Leaving #Mistra to sound of heavy machine gunfire, govt minders anxious to turn us around back to #Tripoli

Couldnt get into centre of #Misrata so impossible to make any informed judgment of who controls what. Army apprears dominant on outskirts…

#Misrata: tanks hidden under trees, artillery stood in open fields, soldiers in vehcles cud b seen hiding in storefrnts, soldiers on rooftps…

#Misrata: streets deserted except for 100 or so Gadhafi supporters driven in to put on display for our benefit…”

9:24pm: Gaddafi will go on trial in Libya “after victory” by rebel forces, the head of the rebels’ national council said in an interview broadcast by French television. Mustafa Abdel Jalil told France 2 journalists in Benghazi:

“After the victory we will try Gaddafi in Libya for all the crimes he has committed.”

A rebel fighter carries ammunition as rebels advance west towards Sirte

9:17pm: Mr Levy also denies there are divisions in Libya that will result in a stalemate. “I believe that the risk of division is overestimated by most of the commentators. I believe that the so-called rebels have strong friends and strong roots in Tripoli and Sirte. Last night, I spoke to someone from Sirte on the telephone who told me that the city was much more than we had believed already on the side of the rebels. All of them are wishing and dreaming to get rid of this dictatorship.” He says it will be a matter of days, not weeks. “Don’t forget it is an army mainly composed of mercenaries paid to kill, but not born to kill. If they have a chance to get out of the way, they will.”

9:13pm: Bernard-Henri Levy avoids saying whether or not he told French President Nicolas Sarkozy to recognise the rebel Transitional National Council as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people: “I don’t know if I told him. But it was my opinion. When I came back from Benghazi, it was crystal clear for me that the only legitimate representatives of Libya today, and of the whole of Libya, was these guys. They are westerners with Libyan roots and western roots, and are bridges between England, France, America and Libya. They are democrats and secular, and opposed to any sort of terrorism.”

9:07pm: The French philosopher, Bernard Henri-Levy, tells the BBC about the Libyan rebels: “I met the rebels in Benghazi, I met them Brega, I met them in Bayda. I spoke at length with the main figures with the Transitional National Council. Firstly, they stand for secular Islam, and not fundamental Islam. Among the 11 whom I know, and are known, no-one belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood or anything like that. Secondly, they are favourable to a sort of democracy. It will not be a Churchillian democracy overnight, of course, but it will be a step forward. This step forward, this move to democracy, in a country that has been broken by 42 years of dictatorship, will be a blessing. Thirdly, I think they represent all of Libya. Inside the council, you have members who come from tribes faithful to Gaddafi, and even the tribe of Gaddafi himself.”

9:05pm Spencer Ackerman from Wired.com wrote that NATO is taking command of the Libya war. But the real strategy for victory over Moammar Gadhafi is found on the airwaves above Libya: communications frequencies telling his commanders to simply give up fighting. If that sounds like hope masquerading as a plan, then you’re receiving the message loud and clear.

Flying over Libya is the Commando Solo, the Air Force’s special operations aircraft. It’s capable of hijacking radio and TV frequencies to disrupt enemy communications and broadcast the messaging that the U.S. wants. Last week, it informed Libyan naval officers that if they left port to challenge the American, French and Italian ships floating nearby, they’d be destroyed.

9:01pm: US vessels are preparing to pull out of the Mediterranean as Nato takes over the Libya operation, US military officials have told Reuters. ”There is planning out there to do that,” the official said. “It will be more gradual than sudden.”

8:57pm: Andini Effendi tweets: “#Sirte in the evening was much more tense than [Tripoli]. Countless explosions&aircraft circling around the city.Locals were shouting ‘Sarkozy!”

Caller from Tripoli describes sound of loud explosions today in Tripoli

Via @Feb17Voices
Listen!

Translation:

Caller in Tripoli: Earlier I heard “boom”.. Earlier “boom”

Other Caller: Really?

Caller in Tripoli: Swear to God… a lot of it

Other Caller: Where? From where?

Caller in Tripoli: It was like “booom boom boom”  one after the other…about…

Other Caller: what time?

Caller in Tripoli: about ½ hour…. sound trails off

Portugal’s Foreign Minister Luiz Amado Interview- ‘Gaddafi is no more’

Upon his arrival to the EU Council, Portugal’s Foreign minister Luiz Amado proposed that the next steps for Libya be a ceasefire, followed by a national dialogue. He furthermore stated that ‘Gaddafi is no more’ however any dialogue or ceasefire will be dependant on Col.Gaddafi’s cooperation or removal

EU foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels today (10 March) ahead of a special summit on Friday dedicated to the ongoing civil war in Libya and to the wider Southern Mediterranean region. Ministers will reportedly assess the risk that the conflict could degenerate and drag on for a long time.

DOC: LIBYAN EMBASSIES RESIGNED OR DENOUNCED GADDAFI

Thе UN Security Council denounced Libya’s crackdown аgаіnѕt peaceful pro-reform demonstrators аnd called fоr thоѕе responsible tо bе held tо account Tuesday, аѕ Libyan diplomats аrоund thе world began tо break away frоm Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan diplomats аt thе United Nations аnd ѕеvеrаl countries broke ranks wіth thе country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi, urging foreign nations оn Tuesday tо help stop whаt mаnу called thе slaughter оf anti-government protesters.

Gaddafi’s forces hаvе cracked dоwn fiercely оn demonstrators demanding аn end tо hіѕ 41-year rule, wіth fighting spreading tо thе capital Tripoli аftеr erupting іn Libya’s oil-producing еаѕt lаѕt week. Human rights groups say аt lеаѕt 233 people hаvе bееn killed.

Ali al-Essawi, Libya’s ambassador tо India whо resigned hіѕ post іn protest аt thе violent crackdown, told Reuters hе wаѕ beseeching global powers tо help hіѕ people, whо hе said wеrе bеіng killed bу mercenaries аnd air force strikes.
“Libyans саnnоt dо аnуthіng аgаіnѕt thе air fighters. Wе dо nоt саll fоr international troops, but wе саll оn thе international community tо save thе Libyans,” Essawi said, looking nervous аnd agitated іn a New Delhi hotel room whеrе hе іѕ staying аftеr leaving thе embassy.

“I саll оn thе fіvе permanent members оf thе (United Nations) Security Council. Nоw іѕ thе tіmе tо bе fair аnd honest tо protect thе Libyan people.”

Hе аlѕо said ѕеvеrаl members оf thе military hаd defected bесаuѕе оf thеу соuld nоt “see foreigners killing Libyans.”

Thе U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting оn Tuesday tо discuss thе situation іn Libya, аt thе request оf Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s deputy ambassador tо thе United Nations whо аlѕо withdrew hіѕ support fоr Gaddafi, denouncing hіm аѕ a “tyrant.”

But Libyan U.N. Ambassador Abdurrahman Shalgham, whо did nоt sign оntо thе anti-Gaddafi statement issued bу Dabbashi аnd оthеrѕ, told reporters hе ѕtіll supported Gaddafi.

Arriving аt thе Security Council just аѕ thе morning consultations ended, hе told reporters hе hаd appealed tо Libyan officials tо end thе violence аgаіnѕt demonstrators, but thаt “I аm wіth Gaddafi.”

Libya’s ambassador tо thе United States, Ali Aujali, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” thаt hе nо longer represented hіѕ country’s government аnd called оn Gaddafi tо step aside tо avoid furthеr bloodshed.

“I need thе United States tо raise thеіr voice vеrу strongly. Thіѕ regime іѕ shaking аnd thіѕ іѕ thе tіmе tо gеt rid оf it,” Aujali said, referring tо thе U.N. Security Council deliberations.

Read more here: https://www.france24.com/en/20110223-un-security-council-condemns-libya-crackdown-gaddafi-ambassador-diplomats