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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gaddafi Meets Officials in Rare TV Appearance

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. The Libyan leader, who had not been seen in public since the 30th of April strike on his Tripoli compound killed his youngest son and three of his grandchildren, made his appearance on Wednesday. 

A screen behind Gaddafi showed a morning chat show on state Al-Jamahriya television. A zoom-in on the screen showed Wednesday's date displayed in the corner. Journalists from the Reuters news agency based at the same hotel said some rooms had been sealed off during the day for an event, but they had not seen Gaddafi. 

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 amunition. No independent verification of the rebels' account was available. 

Tripoli's consul in Cairo said he was quitting his post to join rebel ranks, the latest Libyan official to break ties with the government. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Wednesday for an "immediate, verifiable ceasefire" but the rebels dismissed the idea saying that they do not trust Gaddafi. Gaddafi's government has made several ceasefire declarations but has continued attacks on Misrata and other rebel-held areas including the Western Mountains near the Tunisian border.

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