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Gaddafi in Libya: Aide

Tripoli, Sept. 14 (Reuters): Muammar Gaddafi’s spokesperson, Moussa Ibrahim, has said over phone from an undisclosed location that the 69-year-old leader was still in Libya, in good spirits and ready to fight back. Gaddafi has not been seen in public since June.

“The leader is in good health, in high morale... of course he is in Libya,” said Ibrahim, who declined to give his own location. “The fight is as far away from the end as the world can imagine.”

While his opponents would scoff at the idea of a successful Gaddafi comeback, they have been concerned at the difficulties they have had in taking the final bastions of his support.

Interim government forces are besieging one of those last bastions, Bani Walid, 180km south of Tripoli, along with Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte on the Mediterranean coast and Sabha, deep in the southern desert.

After a week of fighting, NTC forces at Bani Walid have been urging people to leave before they try to storm the town. Scores of cars packed with families left Bani Walid today as NTC forces broadcast messages telling them to go and handed out free petrol to help them evacuate.

Gaddafi’s whereabouts are unknown. His wife and three of his children fled across the desert to Algeria. Another son, Saadi, who once played professional soccer, has joined some other high-level loyalists in Niger, further to the south.

US official in Tripoli

Jeffrey Feltman, a key figure in US West Asia policy, met Mustafa Abdel Jalil in the capital. It was not clear when Feltman, who is assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, had arrived in Libya.

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