Gaddafi on state TV 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Libyan TV)
TRIPOLI - Libyan state television showed footage of Muammar Gaddafi meeting officials in a Tripoli hotel, ending nearly two weeks of doubt over his fate since a NATO air strike killed his son.
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The Libyan leader, who had not been seen in public since the April 30 strike on his Tripoli compound killed his youngest son and three of his grandchildren, made his appearance on Wednesday in his trademark brown robe, dark sunglasses and black hat.
"We tell the world these are the representatives of the Libyan tribes," said Gaddafi, pointing to the officials and naming a few of them.
"You will be victorious," an old man told Gaddafi, referring to the
three-month-old revolt in the North African country against the Libyan
leader's 41 years of rule.
A screen behind Gaddafi showed a morning chat show on state al-Jamahirya
television. A zoom-in on the screen showed Wednesday's date displayed
in the corner.
Reuters journalists based at the same hotel said some rooms had been
sealed off during the day for an event, but they had not seen Gaddafi.
In the past he has made high-profile entrances accompanied by a large
staff of minders and aides.
A Reuters correspondent said he heard at least two blasts in Tripoli
early on Thursday and that they were believed to have been the result of
NATO strikes. The blasts rattled the windows of the hotel, he said.
Libyan officials said two people had been killed in NATO strikes and
showed foreign journalists two bodies at a hospital. Staff at the
hospital said they had treated more than 20 people who had been wounded.
On Wednesday, rebels trying to overthrow Gaddafi said they had captured
the airport in the city of Misrata in heavy fighting. Hailing it as a
major victory, the rebels said they had also seized large quantities of
weapons and munitions.
No independent verification of the rebels' account was available.
Misrata, besieged by Gaddafi's forces for eight weeks, is strategically
important to rebel hopes of winning the war because it is the only city
they hold in the west of the North African country. It also has a key
The war, linked to this year's uprisings in other Arab countries, has
reached a stalemate. The rebels hold Benghazi and other towns in the
oil-producing east while the government controls Tripoli and almost all
of the west.
Thousands have been killed in the fighting.