Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tornados Strike Gaddafi's Home Town as Hunt for Him Continues

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tornados Strike Gaddafi's Home Town as Hunt for Him Continues

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil Chief Political Correspondent

BRITISH planes are launching fresh attacks on Colonel Gaddafi's home town of Sirte to stop him waging civil war after fleeing Tripoli.

UK Tornado jets hit a command and control centre last night in Sirte where thousands of Gaddafi loyalists are holed up. More Nato strikes are expected over the weekend.

"It's very necessary to ensure that the command and control of the regime is not available in places like Sirte, should they move out of Tripoli," said Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

He also warned against reprisal attacks as reports emerged of captured men being tortured and executed in the capital.

Despite Gaddafi's presidential compound falling three days ago, his forces launched a new counter-attack today as battles raged on in the city. National Transitional Council leaders were moving to Tripoli to claim control there and restore order. "We can start rebuilding our country," said finance minister Ali Tarhouni.

He urged Gaddafi loyalists to lay down their arms as the hunt for the dictator was stepped up, saying: "He is the one who is basically in the sewer, moving from one sewer to another."

But the tyrant -- who has a [pounds sterling]1 million dead-or-alive bounty on his head, put up by a Libyan businessman -- sought to cling to the vestiges of power after the collapse of his brutal 42-year regime. "Don't leave Tripoli for the rats. Fight them, and kill them," he said in a new audio message broadcast on Syria-based satellite TV.

With the SAS, rebels and Nato spy planes hunting for Gaddafi, 69, there were several unconfirmed reports that he had been located. Libyan commandos were said to have come close to snaring him at a farm in south Tripoli, and rebels besieged a flat complex yesterday after rumours spread that he and his sons were hiding there. …

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