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Libya Bombs Protesters With Military Aircraft As All Hell Breaks Loose

Kevin Douglas Grant |
February 21, 2011 | 9:44 a.m. PST

Executive Editor

UPDATED 4:09 p.m. PST: Dictator Muammar Gaddafi makes a 5 second appearance on Libyan state TV, sitting in a car with an umbrella filmed by BBC. Al Jazeera English reports that he said, "I am in Tripoli, not Venezuela."

UPDATED 3:40 P.M. PST:  Reuters reports that the feared "Thunderbolt" military unit may have defected from the government. Both the U.S. and the UN have escalated earlier more moderate condemnations of the Libyan regime.

Secretary of State Clinton denounced what she called "unacceptable bloodshed." 

A growing call by international community to declare a no-fly zone over Libya to block Gaddafi's air force from the further reprisals against civilian population on Monday.

CNN releases video of Libyan soldiers reportedly burned alive for siding with demonstrators.

UPDATED 3:15 P.M. PST: Libya's Ambassador to the U.S. has condemned the Gaddafi regime for killing its own people but has not resigned. Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations has called the killings in his country genocide.

UPDATED: 12:35 p.m. PST:  Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa against Gaddafi on Al Jazeera Monday evening, a religious decree for "any solider, any man who can pull the trigger" to kill the dictator.

UPDATED: 12:15 p.m. PST: Two "senior colonels" defected to Malta rather than fire upon their own people, CNN reports.

With Tripoli's parliament building on fire, the Libyan military is reportedly firing at will against demonstrators who have seized control of Libya's capital.

Al Jazeera confirmed with eyewitnesses on the ground that the military had launched a bombing campaign against civilians, adding to a death toll already estimated above 400.

One tweet out of Tripoli's Green Square said Monday: "A sea of blood in Tripoli. A holocaust in the middle of the Green Square. It has become red." 

Mercenaries are pouring into the country as rumors circulated that Col. Moammar Gaddafi has fled his compound in Tripoli, with one report suggesting he is en route to Venezuela.  The Telegraph reports that Gaddafi has lost control of much of the country:

"The eastern city of Benghazi fell to demonstrators after military units deserted their posts on Monday, the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights said. Sirte, Tobruk Misrata, Khoms, Tarhounah, Zenten, Al-Zawiya and Zouara, were also reported to have fallen to protesters."

The international media has flocked to the Libyan border, though a longtime ban on foreign journalists in Libya means that confirming events there is a difficult and error-riddled process.  The Guardian reports:
"The world's media was today preparing for the "floodgates to open" on Egypt's western border as the uprising threatens to engulf Gaddafi's 41-year rule in Libya."
Meanwhile, multinational oil companies are in the process of evacuating employees from Africa's largest oil producer.  



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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