Live blog: Clashes reported as rebels claim to take right into Tripoli
Libyans celebrate in Benghazi's Freedom Square what rebels claim to be the first uprising in Tripoli against Moammar Gadhafi's regime on Saturday.
August 20th, 2011
11:11 PM ET

Live blog: Clashes reported as rebels claim to take right into Tripoli

[11:10 p.m. ET, 5:50 a.m. in Libya] Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, eldest son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, derided rebels and NATO for their efforts to take their fight inside Tripoli.

"We are in our land, in our country. We have no problem if it takes six months, one year or two years, victory will be ours. This is our country and we will not leave it," he said on Libyan state TV.

"Didn't they say that today, August 20, will be the day they take back Tripoli”

[9:50 p.m. ET, 3:50 a.m. in Libya] Below are translated quotes from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's televised speech a few hours ago:

"Greeting to all of you gathered at the Green Square in Bab Al-Aziziya when you were gathered earlier. I tried to join you but my security did not allow me. We congratulate you for getting rid of those rats that were discovered tonight and who were attacked and defeated by the crowds ...

We did not picture that Ramadan this year would look like this. Who transformed our happiness to Sadness? Who transformed Libya’s Green face to a black one? Who brought the Christians’ Airplanes to kill our children everyday and applauded? Who is the Libyan who applauded as the NATO airplanes kill our Children every night and day during the month of Ramadan? Can we call such a person a Libyan, a Muslim or even a human being? Not even Satan would do such a thing...

Timeline of events in Libya

What have we done to France or Britain or Italy or Norway or the Denmark? You brought them here. You want to give them our oil. If you rule Libya, you will hand Libyan oil to the French people. Sarkozy wants to take Libyan oil and give it to his people. You are just a tool that they are using and providing with weapons so you can give him Libya on a Golden platter. This is clear to everyone...

This is not a Libyan roject, this is not the Project of any Libyan or any tribe or any young Libyan. Its impossible. The Libyan youths love Moammar...

They have lost and used everything and their last resort is their lying campaign. They will end with it the same way they started with it. Now this is the ending."

[8:20 p.m. ET, 2:20 a.m. in Libya] Faithi Baja, political affairs chief for the rebel's Transitional National Council, said in a video statement that the operation "is going easily" and opposition fighters are inching toward Gadhafi's Bab al-Azizia compound.

Rebel spokesman Jumma Ibrahim said clashes in Tripoli were "planned by rebels inside Tripoli in the neighborhoods of Fashloum, Souq al-Juma, Ben Ashur ... and other places." This came after coordination with other anti-Gadhafi elements, added Baja.

But speaking just before midnight in Tripoli, government spokesman Musa Ibrahim insisted that all is safe and well.

[8:20 p.m. ET, 2:20 a.m. in Libya] In a live audio address, Gadhafi blasted the rebel "traitors" and the NATO forces backing them as unethical and intent on destroying the county and ruining lives.

As he had done in a speech six days earlier, he tried to rally citizens to his side.

"A great thing, anyway, that despite the Christian air raids, you continue to be up in Tripoli," he said, an apparent reference to those who listened to his speech from Green Square. "March forward, march forward, march forward."

[8:07 p.m. ET, 2:07 a.m. in Libya] Gunfire erupts outside the hotel where CNN's Matthew Chance is staying after Gadhafi finishes his speech, Chance says via Twitter.

Gadhafi spoke on the phone live on Libya state TV, Chance said. He gave the correct date and time in an effort to prove he was speaking live, Chance said.

Follow CNN's Matthew Chance on Twitter

[7:53 p.m. ET, 1:53 a.m. in Libya] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was heard speaking on Libyan state TV early Sunday.

The broadcaster characterized the comments which come amid reports of intensified fighting in Tripoli and shortly after a rebel spokesman's claimed that opposition fighters have taken the "revolution" inside the capital as live.

The audio address was also aired in Tripoli's Green Square, where Gadhafi supporters were gathered.

[7:33 p.m. ET, 1:33 a.m. in Libya] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi makes public address on Libyan state TV, CNN's Matthew Chance reports via Twitter.

[5:39 p.m. ET, 11:39 p.m. in Libya] Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim said late Saturday that all is safe and well in Tripoli, despite reports of intense fighting and a rebel spokesman's claim that an opposition offensive had been launched in the capital.

Ibrahim added that the government of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi remains in control of Tripoli.

Analysis: As Libyan conflict grinds on, NATO's mission shifts

[5:05 p.m. ET, 11:05 p.m. in Libya] Libyan rebels have taken their fight inside Tripoli, home to embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi, a rebel spokesman said early Sunday.

[4:55 p.m. ET, 10:55 p.m. in Libya] Heavy clashes broke out late Saturday in a Tripoli neighborhood, marked by intense gunfire, explosions and people screaming as they ran through the street, a resident of the Libyan capital told CNN.

FULL STORY
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. mar

    The rebels have announced that operation “Dawn of the Sea Pride” has begun tonight, the operation of of liberating the Libyan capital Tripoli.

    they mean that NATO has told them to say that!!

    August 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ben

    Ya, I'm sure NATO is helping Al Qaeda, makes perfect sense.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Happy World Citizen

    Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (Mr. Potato Head), one of Gaddafi's sons, has stolen $250 Billion in oil revenues over the past 10 years and sent it outside Libya, Arabic news reported yesterday.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RickyL

    Yeah, it's hard to accept isn't it?

    Oh, well!

    August 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moronmor Gadfly

    And your proof of this is? Nothing. Just as I thought, loser.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. outawork

    United Nation resolution 1973 has no expiration date. Please actually read the resolution. NATO mission was extended 90 days 2 months ago and can be extended as necessary. The helicopter that crashed in Tunisia was cause by mechanical problems and the Libya that crossed the border are Gadhafi's men.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Orly

    It wasn't humanely possible that a rag-tag team of colonists could defeat the largest empire in the world in 1776-1781, but look what happened.

    If revolutionaries, or terrorists in your words, could do it then, they certainly can now.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ra

      Yes the US won with the help of France. Same thing as in Libya. The only difference is that many French soldiers died on American soil.

      August 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mar

    oh yeah they are gonna be free alright! just like the now EXTREMIST MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LED EGYPTIAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS who just today kicked out the israeli ambassador and recalled theirs from israel! thats not the freedom that Israel wants!

    August 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mar

      If you love someone set them free. Free free set them free... It's only a matter of time until my employer is drawn and quartered by his own troops. Thank Allah for NATO. I can already taste the freedom.

      August 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Posey

      You mean thank Lucifer for NATO, don't you? After all, the NATO forces and the Libyan "rebels" are fighting to promote Lucifer's will in Libya and not that of Allah or as we call him in the West, Jehovah!

      August 21, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom Posey

      Don't thank Allah, but Lucifer for NATO. After all, NATO does fight for him and his will.

      August 21, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. FUNGAI MUSHATA

    YOU LIBYIANS STOP FIGHTING,BE LIKE ZIMBABWE;YOU HAVE REACHED TOO FAR THAN EXPECTED.CAN'T U SEE U'RE DEVOURING YR OWN BLD

    August 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bigboxes

    Serioulsy, STFU

    August 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mar

    darkstar.....

    IBRAHIM BIN QUMU!!!

    August 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mar

    May 5 2011
    edits May 10

    Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu, now aged 51, was captured by U.S. forces along with his too many names in Pakistan before 2001 was even out. He was later held, as "probable al Qaeda" at Guantanamo Bay. By his case file, (photo at right), he suffered from “a non-specific personality disorder” and, per the authorities of his home country, Libya, a history of drug addiction and violence. In March 2011, he was reported as leading or training rebel fighters against that government in his home town of Dernah.

    Rod Nordland and Scott Shane: Libyan, Once a Detainee, Is Now a U.S. Ally of Sorts, New York Times, April 24 2011.

    He was captured in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and sent to Guantánamo — in part because of information provided by Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

    “The Libyan Government considers detainee a ‘dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts,’ ” says the classified 2005 assessment, evidently quoting Libyan intelligence findings, which was obtained by The New York Times. “ ‘He was known as one of the extremist commanders of the Afghan Arabs,’ ” the Libyan information continues, referring to Arab fighters who remained in Afghanistan after the anti-Soviet jihad.

    When that Guantánamo assessment was written, the United States was working closely with Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence service against terrorism. Now, the United States is a leader of the international coalition trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi — and is backing with air power the rebels, including Mr. Qumu.

    It's the Libyan government's own fault he was left about to cause trouble. In September 2007, he was transferred from U.S. custody back to Libya, and then released by them in 2008 under a general asylum arrangement. Their liberal reforms nice-making gestures backfired. Now, he is back at home and:

    ...reportedly a leader of a ragtag band of fighters known as the Darnah Brigade for his birthplace, this shabby port town of 100,000 people in northeast Libya.
    Nick Allen: Libya: Former Guantánamo detainee is training rebels. Telegraph. April 3 2011.

    Rebel recruits in the eastern port city of Derna are being trained by Sufyan Bin Qumu, a Libyan who was arrested following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and held at Guantánamo for six years.
    [...]
    Mr Qumu, 51, a Libyan army veteran, was accused by the US government of working as a truck driver for a company owned by Osama bin Laden, and as an accountant for a charity accused of terrorist links.
    Nordland and Shane note "Colonel Qaddafi has cited claims about Mr. Qumu’s past in statements blaming Al Qaeda for the entire Libyan uprising." For example, a mostly-ignored Gaddafi speech of March 3 said:

    “Al Qaeda is infiltrating, brainwashing and recruiting our children … operating from a mosque or a snake hole. Al Qaeda has no demands, they do not negotiate.” [...] He also said that a former Guantanamo inmate was behind anti-government protests and the “brainwashing and training” of young people. “One operative from Guantanamo [has been] executing people: the police, security personnel and other civilians.”

    That's correct – training is what Mr. bin Qumu was up to. He may also be the origin of Gaddafi's drugs angle. The leader had accused the protesters of being psyched out on illegal drugs and alcohol, and has called this minor senior of theirs a druggie in the past. By the photo above, he does looks a bit like a Muslim Charles Manson. But with the Afghanistan connection, I'm thinking heroin's his bag, not acid. And heroin just isn't the best flash-mob promotion drug.

    According to his Wikipedia entry, he was never put through the usual review board and release process, and Amnesty International tried to keep track of bin Qumu after his release, but he's been hard to get ahold of ever since.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mar

    Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu, now aged 51, was captured by U.S. forces along with his too many names in Pakistan before 2001 was even out. He was later held, as "probable al Qaeda" at Guantanamo Bay. By his case file, (photo at right), he suffered from “a non-specific personality disorder” and, per the authorities of his home country, Libya, a history of drug addiction and violence. In March 2011, he was reported as leading or training rebel fighters against that government in his home town of Dernah

    August 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mar

    I've just been jacking you guys! Gadhafi is such a tool. There are a few loyalists that don't want change, but most of us are praying that this whole thing ends quickly and with as little bloodshed as possible. Thank you NATO for supporting our freedom from this dictator!

    August 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • mar

      THAT POST WAS FROM AN IMPOSTER!!

      Abdel Hakim al-Hasidi, a senior Libyan rebel commander in Derna, was also held following the invasion of Afghanistan and handed over to Libyan custody two months later.
      Both men were said to have been released from prison in Libya in 2008 as part of a reconciliation process with Islamists in the country.
      In retrospect, Libya might have been too soft, in spot anyway. An odd coupling of quotes by Allen:

      [Hasidi] has also called on foreign governments to supply rebels in Libya with Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

      Mr Qumu has described the Nato-led bombing in Libya as a "blessing".
      Not working together? Nordland and Shane, NYT

      In addition to Mr. Qumu, local residents say the Darnah Brigade is led by Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, another Libyan thought to be a militant who was in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule, when Al Qaeda had training camps there.

      Mr. Qumu did not turn up for a promised interview last week, but Mr. Hasadi did, in crumpled fatigues with a light beard and a lazy left eye, perpetually half-closed. He denied that Mr. Qumu was in his group, recently renamed the Martyrs of Abu Salim Brigade.........

      NEED ANY MORE PROOF THAT THESE ARE AL-QAEDA TERRORIST?

      August 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Baghdad Bob's cousin Tripoli Tom

    I assure you this is not correct. There are no rebels anywhere near Tripoli. As a matter of fact, there are no rebels anywhere in Libya. This is all a Hollywood fantasy dreamt up by the enemies of Libya and our most kind and revered leader, the compassionate Colonel Gadaffi – who is not seeking a cab ride out of the country as I type this.

    Colonel Gadaffi, who reads bedtime stories to orphaned children, will always be the ruler of Libya. The Libyan people stand behind him 100% because he is most generous. Just yesterday, he granted an old woman's wish. She asked him not to cut off the ring finger on her hand, so the gracious Colonel Gadaffi – who is not frantically looking over bus schedules to the port – cut off the index finger instead.

    Colonel Gadaffi will make fools of you all who report these false stories of rebels in the city of Tripoli. He passed a law two days ago that made it a crime to be a rebel in the city of Tripoli. The brave Colonel Gadaffi – who is not trying to buy a fast camel and a map of the desert as we speak – will stand and fight any occupiers of Libya, of which there are none.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio

      Enjoy spamming comments with loyalist propaganda now, because it looks like you capital is besieged. How's the price for a gallon in tripoli right now? Instead of "waking up", you should analyze your life before stating that you're "awake".

      August 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mar

      EMIGDIO...

      JUST USE YOUR BRAIN AND GOOGLE THE INFO AS I DID? OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HIS "GUANTANAMO BAY DETENTION FILE?!! YOUR A LIAR AND A HYPOCRITE!! AT LEAST THE OTHER FOOLS WHO WERE DEFENDING THIS ILLEGAL INVASION HAD THE DECENCY TO STFU AFTER READING HIS EYE WITNESS STATEMENTS THAT HE IS AL-QAEDA~!

      August 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio

      How am I a liar and a hypocrite? And last time I checked, they didn't shut up because of you dropping names, they stopped because this blog is no longer accessible from the from page.

      August 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
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