Libyan Rebels Report Muammar Qaddafi Surrounded

Rebel forces in Libya say they have former dictator Muammar Qaddafi surrounded – but they're not saying where.

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Chana Ya'ar,

Muammar Qaddafi
Muammar Qaddafi
Israel news photo: Libya Official Photo

Rebel forces say they have former dictator Muammar Qaddafi surrounded – but they're not saying where, other than to admit he is still in Libya.

Qaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim was quoted early Wednesday as saying that the former strongman has indeed not left the country. “Our leader is still in Libya. He is in good health and in high spirits,” Ibrahim told the Damascus-based Al Rai television station. He added that Qaddafi's son Saif al-Islam was also in the country, moving from place to place.

Anis Sharif, a spokesman for the Transitional National Council in Tripoli, said Wednesday it is only a matter of time until Qaddafi is captured or killed. “Qaddafi is trapped in a 60-kilometer radius area surrounded by forces of the Transitional National Council,” said Sharif, adding, “He can't get out.” The spokesman told reporters that rebel forces were preparing to either capture or kill the former dictator.

Qaddafi's wife, three children and several grandchildren arrived in Algeria on August 29, according to that country's foreign ministry. In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Algeria cited the birth of a baby girl by Qaddafi's daughter Aisha on the country's border without medical attention as the reason for admitting the family to the country under humanitarian grounds. Knowledge of the birth was kept out of the media spotlight for several days.

Another of Qaddafi's sons, Khamis, 27, who commanded an elite military unit, was reportedly killed in a NATO air strike on the same day.

Thousands of people have been killed in the uprising to end the dictator's 41-year regime according to a senior rebel leader who spoke with the Reuters news agency last month.