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Rediff.com  » News » Britain's SAS joins Gaddafi hunt; bounty $2 million

Britain's SAS joins Gaddafi hunt; bounty $2 million

August 25, 2011 15:21 IST

Britain's crack SAS troops have joined the manhunt for Libya's toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi, as the country's National Transitional Council put up a 'dead or alive' notice for the elusive dictator, who is untraceable since the fall of Tripoli.

Camouflaged in Arab attire and carrying weapons similar to rebels, the SAS have been ordered to switch their focus on the search for Gaddafi, on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday, Telegraph reported quoting British Defence officials.

The officials confirmed for the first time that the SAS had been in Libya for several weeks and had played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli.

NATO officials still have no idea where the despot is holed up, even after yesterday, when Gaddafi taunted his opponents by claiming that he had toured Tripoli in incognito as fighting raged around his headquarters.

The reports of SAS troops joining the manhunt came as Britain's Defence Secretary Liam Fox confirmed that NATO was contributing intelligence and reconnaissance equipment to the search.

"I can confirm that NATO is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC to help them track down Gaddafi and other remnants of the regime".

With his forces putting up stubborn resistance in Tripoli and the loyalist towns, including Sirte, NTC leaders on Thursday announced that the hunt for Gaddafi had been given top priority.

The Transitional Council has put a bounty of $2 million on his head and amnesty for anyone who kills or captures him.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, leader of the NTC said, "We know Gaddafi's regime is not over yet. The end will only come when he is captured dead or alive".

"Gaddafi's forces and his accomplices will not stop resisting until the dictator is caught or killed", he said.

The NATO and NTC have put Gaddafi's capture on the top of the agenda as they fear that his continued presence was leading to a grim reality of a guerrilla battle for the suburbs of Tripoli that are still held by despot supporters.

Fierce battles have been raging for the past 48 hours for control of Abu Salim, a mile-wide corridor to the south of Bab al-Aziziya, which is one possible location of Gaddafi's current hideout.

There are also reports of gunfights going on underground in the maze of tunnels below Bab al-Aziziya, through which Gaddafi is believed to have slipped away.

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