“a formation of Tornado GR4s… fired a salvo of Storm Shadow precision-guided missiles against a large headquarters bunker” in Sirte.
The bunker housed a command and control centre. There is no indication that Col Gaddafi was in Sirte or in the bunker itself at the time of the attack. Defence Secretary Liam Fox: “The Nato mission remains the protection of the civilian population” “It’s not a question of finding Gaddafi, it’s ensuring the regime does not have the capability to continue waging war against its own people,” Defence Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC.
Sabha is dominated by the Magariha tribe which remains loyal to Gaddafi. The population of 130,000 is described as a mixture of Arab and Black.borders the deep Sahara and is the traditional stronghold of the tribe that has the strongest and longest allegiance to Gaddafi. Sabha is a hub for illegal immigration from across the Sahara, bringing people from Niger, Ghana, Togo, and Sudan hoping to pass through Tripoli to Europe.
One excited group of rebels said they thought they might have trapped Gaddafi and some of his sons in a building — though there was in fact no indication Gaddafi was inside. They did not say why they believed Gaddafi and his sons were inside. “They are together. They are in a small hole,” one of the fighters involved in the battle, Muhammad Gomaa, told Reuters. “Today we finish. Today we will end that.” Rebels were exchanging fire with Gaddafi loyalists inside the buildings.
Liam Fox, UK defence secretary, had earlier confirmed that Nato was giving intelligence and reconnaissance assistance to Libyan rebels hunting for Col Gaddafi and his sons, although he declined to comment on press reports that British special forces were involved.
“I can confirm that Nato is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC to help them track down Colonel Gaddafi and other remnants of the regime,” he told Sky News.
2.36pm:[GMT Aug. 24] The rebels are saying they believe they have Muammar Gaddafi trapped in an apartment complex near to his compound, Sky News is reporting.
2.32pm: Rebels believe they have got Muammar Gaddafi and an unspecified number of his sons surrounded in Tripoli, Reuters is reporting.
1.56pm: Gaddafi’s sons are thought to be holed-up to the east of Tripoli airport,
Rebels are fighting Muammar Gaddafi’s loyalists for control of Sabha, an important city in Libya’s southern desert that is likely to be his last stronghold, “We are coming from two sides and we’ve just given them one side, to the south, to flee to Sabha,” he said referring to a desert town where Gaddafi is known to have considerable support and where his forces have also been clashing with supporters of the rebels.
The rebels’ top military spokesman, Ahmed Bani, said on Wednesday that Gaddafi’s loyalists had been attacking Sabha with rockets.