rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » In PHOTOS: Gaddafi's secret underground city

In PHOTOS: Gaddafi's secret underground city

Last updated on: August 26, 2011 14:59 IST

In PHOTOS: Gaddafi's secret underground city

     Next

Next
Fallen Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had virtually built an underground city under the capital Tripoli, with a vast maze of well-hidden reinforced tunnels fanning out for miles in different directions.

"There is a Tripoli above ground and a Tripoli underground," a rebel commander exclaimed as his men stumbled upon what had long been rumoured -- an elaborate secret underground network.

Click NEXT to read further...

Image: A Libyan man climbs a ladder to exit the extensive underground tunnels running under the summer residence of Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi's at Cyrene near the Beydah
Photographs: Julien Muguet/Reuters
     Next

Gaddafi's secret underground city

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Outsiders who had never seen the tunnels were shocked at the sight of these long tubes running in all directions beneath the Bab al-Aziziya command centre of Gaddafi, assuming that these virtually connected all of Tripoli underground.

The rebel commanders said that the maze of tunnels probably explained Gaddafi's ability to appear anywhere in the city without being seen. The commanders guess that Gaddafi who could have the blueprint fled the city through these, The Telegraph reported.

Image: Citizens tour an an underground jail that oppostion supporters excavated at a palace compound of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
Photographs: Getty Images
Prev     Next

Gaddafi's secret underground city

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
The tunnels have outlets to two of the houses in Abu Salim district of Tripoli where rebels laid a siege on Thursday night after intelligence reports that Gaddafi was hiding there. But the hunt proved fruitless.

The tunnels are wide enough to accommodate small vehicles and rebel troops found abandoned golf buggies, which appeared to have been used by Gaddafi, his family and aides to move around quickly and comfortably under the city.

The tunnels, which have become an attraction for curious rebels, are high enough for two people to walk comfortably abreast, their walls are of thick concrete and doors are of heavy metal.

Image: A Libyan man shows a door in the extensive underground tunnels running under Gaddafi's residence
Photographs: Julien Muguet/Reuters
Prev     Next

Gaddafi's secret underground city

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Most of the entrances to the tunnels lead from Gaddafi's sprawling house, but some of the entry points are from places like next to the famous statue of a bronze fist crushing an American fighter outside the so-called "House of Resistance".

Some of the corridors led to well equipped bomb proof bunkers, crammed with communication equipment including hundreds of phones, probably used as command and control centres.

Other bunkers contained shelves stacked with boxes, files and documents. Some rooms had enough food and water supplies to sustain occupants for weeks.


Image: A Libyan man walks through a door in the extensive underground tunnels
Photographs: Julien Muguet/Reuters
Prev     Next

Gaddafi's secret underground city

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Apprehensive that the toppled dictator and his die hard loyalists may still be lurking about somewhere in the maze, the rebels picked their way slowly looking if Gaddafi or his family members were hiding in many countless bunkers.

The rebels also stumbled upon stores of weapons and gas masks, suggesting that the tunnels had been prepared to provide sanctuary in the event of a nuclear or a chemical attack.

Image: A rebel fighter is seen at the south gate of the Bab al Aziziya compound as they make a final push to flush out pro-Gaddafi forces from the compound in Tripoli. The sign on the wall reads Welcome, our dear guest
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

Gaddafi's secret underground city

Prev     Next
Prev

Next
Construction on the tunnel network began in 1980s and Gaddafi's increasing isolation from the West made him a target for attack.

In 1986, his Bab al-Aziziya compound was the scene of a bombing raid by the US in response for Libya's alleged involvement in a terrorist attack on a nightclub in West Berlin.


Image: A rebel fighter is seen at the south gate of the Bab al Aziziya compound
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

Gaddafi's secret underground city

Prev     More
Prev

More
After that attack it is thought Gaddafi ordered the building of a major underground network of shelters that could offer him and his family protection from future raids.The tunnels may have served the purpose of their builder Muammar Gaddafi.

But in times to come, they have the potential to become tourist attractions like Vietnam's Cu Chi tunnels near Ho Chi Minh city.

Image: Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, Libya, is pictured in this satellite image
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     More
© Copyright 2014 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.