Just an update.
At Qaddafi Compound, a Human Shield
by DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK • March 19, 2011 Read Later
TRIPOLI, Libya — Even as the Allied intervention began, a group of foreign journalists were bused on a rare visit inside Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi1’s compound — a labyrinth of concrete barracks, fortified walls and barbed-wire designed to deter potential military coups. There, hundreds of supporters offered themselves up as human shields, cheering to newly minted dance songs about their adoration for their leader. “House by house, ally by ally,” the catchiest song went, quoting a Qaddafi speech. “Disinfect the germs from each house and each room.”
Mostly women and children, some said they were the families of soldiers in Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. They said they had come to protect Colonel Qaddafi’s compound from bombing by volunteering to be shields. “If they want to hit Muammar Qaddafi, they must hit us because we are all Muammar Qaddafi,” said Ghazad Muftah, a 52-year-old widow of a soldier from the Warfalla tribe, who said she was there with her six grown children.
In a press conference after the missile attacks, Mohamed Zweid, secretary of the Libyan version of a parliament, called the intervention “a barbaric and armed attack” and charged that it had “caused some real harm against civilians and buildings.”
“The claim that this aggression is for the protection of civilians is contradicted by what has really happened on the ground tonight,” he said. “The big number of civilians who have been hurt or harmed by this aggression tonight, the number is filling up our hospitals and ambulances are doing their best to save as many lives of civilians as possible.” But he declined to specify which civilian buildings or locations were hit.
He insisted again — despite widespread reports of continued attacks in eastern Libya2 and the siege of a major rebel-controlled city in the west — that the Qaddafi government had already declared a cease-fire. And he echoed the Qaddafi government’s continuing characterization, against all evidence, that they are fighting a small group of Al Qaeda3 terrorists.
He also confirmed reports of fighting inside Benghazi, which he attributed to an internal uprising against the rebels “by people inside the city who wanted to cleanse the city of the extremists and armed militias.”
Around midnight local time, an anti-aircraft gun was heard firing over the capital.
1. ^Muammar el-Qaddafi (topics.nytimes.com) ( http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/q/muammar_el_qaddafi/index.html?inline=nyt-per )
2. ^Libya (topics.nytimes.com) ( http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/libya/index.html?inline=nyt-geo )