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.
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.”
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!”