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Rebels will be rebuffed before reaching Tripoli: Gaddafi loyalists

August 14, 2011 - Tripoli

Libyan regime officials have said that NATO and rebel forces have underestimated Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's support, warning that any advancement made by the opposition would be rebuffed before they reach Tripoli.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim revealed that the rebels failed to take the gateway city of Bani Walid in eastern Libya.

"The rebels are now under severe pressure from France, Britain and Qatar to get the job done. They are being told that you do it or you lose our support. NATO is urging Libyans to kill fellow Libyans," The Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

Rebel commanders in Western Libya captured the front line towns of Bir Ghanam and Nasir, and have set their sights on Zawiyah with the intention of cutting off the road through Zawiyah so that they can sever Gaddafi's main lifeline to bring in fuel, food and other necessities.

However, Brigadier-General Hadi al-Ujaili, a member of Libya's intelligence service captured by the rebels, rejected the idea that Tripoli would eventually fall, insisting that Gaddafi still has key tribal support in a belt around the capital.

"For the most part Tripoli is stable. There is some opposition to Gaddafi but I would say he is safe," as he "still has the support of key tribes. He is still very strong. He is under threat, but pushing him out will be very difficult. The tribes are key. He has their support."

"Gaddafi has more than 1,000 men there. They are mostly conscripts. Since the rebels have been moving he has been building up his people there," he added.


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