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THE WEEKLY WORLD EDITION OF The Daily Telegraph AND The Sunday Telegraph
August 31 - September 6 2011 No. 1049
Kate Winslet to the rescue at Branson island
:: NEWS PAGE 3
By Thomas Harding, Gordon Rayner and Damien McElroy in Tripoli BRITISH special forces are on the ground in Libya helping to lead the hunt for Muammar Gaddafi, The Telegraph can disclose.
As a £1million bounty was placed on Gaddafi’s head, soldiers from 22 SAS Regiment began guiding rebel soldiers, after being ordered in by David Cameron.
For the first time, defence sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in co-ordinating the battle for Tripoli.
The rapid advance into Libya’s capital city saw columns of rebel fighters progress along Omar al-Mukhtar Street and into the main Green Square on Sunday last week, cheering and firing celebratory gunshots into the air.
Thousands of rebel fighters and Tripoli residents swarmed into Green Square — the scene of Gaddafi’s rallies at the start of the uprising — and began ripping down regime posters and stamping on them or riddling them with bullets. Some of them also waved machetes and automatic rifles as they chanted victory slogans.
“It’s over!” shouted one man as he dashed out of a building, a mobile telephone clutched to his ear. Celebratory gunfire and explosions rang out over the city and cars repeatedly blared their horns.
With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have
INSIDE Reports p2 & p6-7 Comment p19 & 20
been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured last Tuesday.
Rebels have admitted that they still had no concrete information as to where he might be hiding. “We have no factual report about the whereabouts of Gaddafi and his sons,” Mustafa Abdel Jalil,
chairman of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), said last Wednesday night.
One possible bolt-hole for Gaddafi was his home city of Sirte, some 300 miles east of Tripoli, which remained in the hands of government loyalists last week. Guerrilla fighters from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, in eastern Libya, had been advancing towards the city, but had only managed to get as far as the edge of Bin Jawad, a town about 100 miles away.
Fawzi Bukatif, a rebel commander, said that attempts to persuade the Sirte loyalists to surrender had been fruitless. “We are waiting for the people in Sirte to come out and talk, but we’ve got no answer up to now,” he said.
Last Wednesday, the NTC said that Gaddafi was wanted “dead or alive” and promised an amnesty to any of his inner circle prepared to betray his whereabouts.
After announcing the £1million reward for anyone who turns in the dictator — put up by two businessmen based in Benghazi — the NTC added that any loyalists who
Victorious: children join celebrations of the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli’s Green Square provided relevant information would be given immunity from prosecution.
Mr Jalil added: “We know Gaddafi’s regime is not over yet. The end will only come when he’s captured, dead or alive.
“Gaddafi’s forces and his is away accomplices will not stop resisting until Gaddafi is caught or killed.”
The speed with which Gaddafi’s last bastion in the capital fell to the rebels on Tuesday last week was astonishing. It came hours after the rebels were humiliated by the appearance of the dictator’s son, Saif al-Islam, on the streets of Tripoli.
The NTC, which had quickly announced the arrest of Gaddafi’s presumed heir on the Sunday night, appeared to be losing its grip on the capital when the same son suddenly resurfaced early last Tuesday, having escaped, and confidently announced that his father remained in control.
After Nato kept Gaddafi’s forces pinned down inside his compound with a series of air
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