August 31, 2011(Aljazeera)
Toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam has vowed to continue resistance, while his brother Saadi Gaddafi has offered to surrender, Reuters news agency reported.
“We would like to tell our people that we are well and good. The leader [Muammar Gaddafi] is fine. We have more than 20,000 armed youths and we are ready to fight. I tell our men to strike back against the rats,” Saif is quoted as saying on the pro-Gaddafi al-Rai television station.
However, Saadi said in a TV interview that he had his father’s authorisation to talk to National Transitional Council (NTC) to stop the bloodshed in Libya.
“We acknowledge that they [the NTC] represent a legal party, but we are also the government and a legal negotiating party,” he said.
Mahmoud Shammam, spokesman for the NTC, told Al Jazeera that the two sons have very different requests. “It seems that Saadi is not feeling safe. He is not negotiating on behalf of his father, but negotiating on behalf of his [own] life. We are talking about Saadi who is in a very bad situation.”
“On the other hand, we have Saif al Islam, and he is trying to raise the morale of the people surrounding him and wants to fight.”
Libyan fighters said security would be guaranteed for Saadi if he surrenders, AFP news agency reported.
The statements from the Gaddafi sons came as NATO confirmed that it had bombed remaining outposts of Gaddafi’s supporters in Libya, targeting their tanks and armoured vehicles as well as military facilities.
The Western military alliance said on Wednesday its planes had bombed Gaddafi forces near Sirte a day earlier. They also hit targets in the area of Bani Walid, a desert town and a Gaddafi stronghold 150km southeast of the capital, Tripoli.
Gaddafi loyalists are now believed to be limited to three main areas in the country: Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha.
Sirte to the east of Tripoli is the birthplace of Gaddafi and fighters opposed to him are concentrating their efforts to seize the town.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the NTC, said on Tuesday that forces loyal to Gaddafi have until Saturday to surrender or face a military assault.
In another development on Wednesday, at least four Libyan fighters were killed in Tripoli in a blast that went off as residents, already rejoicing at the fall of Gaddafi’s regime, celebrated Eid-al-Fitr.
Some residents said it was a car bomb and the blast was carried out by Gaddafi loyalists.
Al Jazeera’s Sue Turton, reporting from Tripoli, said: “A group of rebels have denied it was a car bomb; they say actually a car full of fuel was hit by celebratory gun fire, that’s what killed the four Libyan fighters.”
“Another group said that children had picked up grenades left on the road after the recent fighting, and that they were killed in the grenade explosions,” she said.
The blast, however, failed to dampen Eid celebrations, as residents knelt in prayer in Martyrs’ Square in thousands.
At dawn on Wednesday, families began to pour into the square, which had been dubbed “Green Square” by Gaddafi, as women ululated in triumph and spontaneous cries of joy erupted.
“This is the best holiday of my life,” said Adel Masmoudi, who at 41 was born the year Gaddafi seized power.
An imam leading the dawn prayer urged all Libyans to stand united and hailed the ousting of “the tyrant Gaddafi”, prompting jeers from the crowd at the mention of the former leader’s name.
Rebel forces had set up a security belt around the square, as armed guards patrolled the area and snipers took position on rooftops overlooking the gathering which ended peacefully later in the morning.
The Eid celebrations had begun late on Tuesday with bursts of red tracer rounds fired into the sky as a substitute for fireworks.
“This is the first time we have felt relaxed in 42 years,” Amari Abdulla, 24, told the AFP news agency.
“We will celebrate as in the past but this time it is simply better. It is a new Libya.”