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Former Libyan PM Abdessalam Jalloud defects from Gaddafi regime to join rebels

August 20, 2011 - Tripoli

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has reportedly suffered yet another blow after former Prime Minister Abdessalam Jalloud joined the rebels to fight against the Libyan dictator.

Jalloud, who was sacked by Gaddafi in the 1990s, fled Tripoli to rebel-held Zintan on Friday, The Telegraph reports.

Confirming that the former prime minister declared he would support the uprising against the dictator, an official with the Western Military Council said: "This is very big news. He has declared that he will work with the revolution."

The official said that Jalloud has not met Gaddafi in many years, but added that he is due to make a public statement denouncing Gaddafi in Benghazi, the rebel capital on Saturday.

The defection came as aid workers were preparing a mass evacuation of foreigners from Tripoli on Friday night as Western leaders discussed plans for the likely fall of Gaddafi.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had spoken by telephone to Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of the rebels' political leadership, the National Transitional Council, about planning for what would happen if and when the Libyan leader fell.

"This is a moment not to be complacent at all, but optimistic that we are getting closer to the future that many of us talked about," he added.


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