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Gaddafi likely wounded and not in Tripoli: Italy

In World News on May 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

By Reuters

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has likely been wounded in western airstrikes and has probably left Tripoli, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Friday.

A Libyan government spokesman immediately denied that Gaddafi had been harmed.

Frattini told reporters that he believed what he had been told by Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Catholic bishop in Tripoli, that Gaddafi had probably left Tripoli and had probably even been wounded by NATO airstrikes.

“I tend to give credence to the comment of the bishop of Tripoli, Monsignor Martinelli, who has been in close contact over recent weeks, when he told us that Gaddafi is very probably outside Tripoli and is probably also wounded. We don’t know where or how,” Frattini said.

“It’s nonsense,” Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said in Tripoli. “The leader is in high morale. He’s in good spirits. He is leading the country day by day. He hasn’t been harmed at all.”

Asked about the Libyan denial, Frattini said he still believed what Martinelli said.

In a separate interview published on the website of the Corriere della Sera, Frattini also said that he did not believe that Libyan TV footage of Gaddafi greeting tribal leaders on Wednesday was authentic.

“I strongly doubted that those images were taken on that day and above all in Tripoli,” Frattini said.

“There are people on the ground who have the pulse of the situation … Among many others I am referring to Bishop Martinelli, who has had, and still has, close relations with the regime,” he said.

He added: “The international pressure has likely led Gaddafi to decide to seek shelter in a safe location. I tend to think that…”

Full article…

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