The Mitiga military base on the outskirts of Tripoli was taken by the anti-Muammar Gaddafi forces on 20 August, a key step in encircling the city, to gain eventual control.
One of our correspondents in Libya, Jamel Ezzidini, met some of the successful combatants. They are mostly young. But Fethi is one of the older fighters, a former judge and supreme court lawyer. He said his side were waiting for the call to act from Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the former minister of justice and one of the foremost figures in the Banghazi-based National Transitional Council.
Fethi said: “We called the night of the liberation of Tripoli the ‘Night of the Mermaid’. We were prepared. I won’t deny that we had been armed well ahead of that date, and we were split up into several groups. We didn’t want fighting, didn’t want bloodshed. We put out calls from all the mosques around the base, asking our brothers to surrender. They responded with rockets and mortars.”
Mitiga lies roughly eight kilometres east of Tripoli’s city centre, and the ultimate strategic prize: the ill-reputed Bab al-Azizia barracks compound and residence of Libya’s ousted leader. This the rebels managed to penetrate on August 23.
A fighter named Mahmoud said: “We found prisoners and got them out. We found huge stocks of munitions and weapons, cells with prisoners, and strange underground passageways that went on forever. When we entered them we walked for three or four kilometres. Then we turned back because everything was black. We found Gaddafi’s brigades, men of different nationalities, some of them from Chad and Nigeria, also Libyans. They were all together, armed, living here. We found passports also, Libyan passports, but it was written in them that these men were from Chad. They had given them these with the idea that after things stabilised they would be given Libyan nationality, and would settle here definitively.”
Jamel Ezzidini concluded: “The seizing of the Mitiga military base by the rebels, who, for the most part are residents of the surrounding area, had a great effect on the moral of those who attacked Bab al-Azizia, Gaddafi’s fortress, the fall of which symbolised the crumbling of a regime which had lasted for 42 years.”
- 1Pope Francis kisses hands of Holocaust survivors
- 23D, 360° virtual reality is ready to launch – on an adult film
- 3Bombing in Syria not World War III, says Russia’s EU ambassador
- 4Migrant crisis: Hungary poised to shut unofficial border crossings with Croatia
- 5Syria: We believe that Russia has the wrong strategy, says US
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Syrian refugee tripped by shamed camera woman is named
- 3Hungarian camera woman caught on video kicking and tripping migrants could face jail
- 4Hungarian reporter who tripped migrants apologises for her actions
- 5NASA discovers evidence of “liquid briny water” flowing on Mars
- 6Latest News Bulletin
- 7At least 220 dead in stampede outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia reports
- 8International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 9What the top tweets worldwide are saying about #refugees
- 10Why aren’t rich Gulf states welcoming Syrian refugees…or are they?
- 11Why aren’t rich Gulf states welcoming Syrian refugees… or are they?
- 12Hungarian camerawoman fired after being filmed kicking migrants
- 13Which European countries offer the most social benefits to migrants?
- 14[Live] All the Rugby World Cup news in one place
- 15Spain: Catalan President faces ‘civil disobedience’ charges over breakaway vote
- 16International news | euronews, latest international news
- 17Banzai back in the vocabulary as Japan passes law allowing combat deployments
- 18Exclusive: shipwatchers chart Russian hardware heading into Med
- 19Migrant tripped up in Hungary gets Spanish football job
- 20Israel agents ‘incite’ stone-throwing in West Bank
Latest world news
Islamic Sate fighters seize villages close to Aleppo – reports
Rebuilding a pluralist Syria key to encouraging returns
Nobel Peace Prize for Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet
Palestinians shot dead in Gaza as Middle East violence escalates
Russia denies US claims cruise missiles malfunctioned over Iran
Wires > News
- 19:29 CET Israel, Iran trade barbs at U.N. disarmament panel meeting
- 19:23 CET Paris train hero was breaking up fight when stabbed in California…
- 19:17 CET Islamic State closes in on city of Aleppo in Syrian fighting
- 19:13 CET Italy sends Eritreans to Sweden to seek asylum under EU plan
- 19:08 CET Six killed in Gaza as Israeli-Palestinian violence widens
- 18:48 CET Refugee arrivals surge in Greece with bad weather ahead – IOM
- 18:12 CET Poachers kill four rangers, army officer in Congo park
- 18:11 CET In 26 countries, girls more likely to be married off than go to…