Video: Emotions strained as Libyan rebels struggle

  1. Closed captioning of: Emotions strained as Libyan rebels struggle

    >>> again, i'm richard engel reporting live from bengazi, libya. i met one of the rebels, a 25-year-old who had been studying in canada, but he decided to drop out of university in his last semester and come here and fight. i asked him why, what motivates him.

    >> reporter: you came from canada to join this fight. why did you come?

    >> it's my country and my people. i'm from here, as you know, and i don't know anything about my family from two weeks ago. there is no phone calls, there is nothing.

    >> reporter: how is the fighting going right now? we've seen the rebels go forward and then go backward and go guard again.

    >> we're still very weak. we need more weapons. i swear to god there are people with nothing to fight with, but they want to.

    >> reporter: i know this must be an emotional time.

    >> that's true, man.

    >> reporter: you were separated from your friends today.

    >> actually, we don't know. we don't know.

    >> reporter: you had a rocket fall next to you today. are you okay?

    >> i'm okay. i don't care about the rocket. i don't care. i want to die, actually, if i can.

    >> reporter: why?

    >> it's an honor to us. it's freedom. we want freedom. but what can we say, we can't get attacked from other countries. last night, like running to this area to this area to -- sorry.

    >> reporter: it's okay. i know this is difficult. it's been a very tough last 48 hours .

    >> i can't describe that. it's really hard. you got attacked from so many ways, from the sea, from the sahara, and people can get anywhere because we don't have any cars.

    >> reporter: we've been hearing that gadhafi forces have been going through the desert and coming around the desert and cutting in.

    >> we thought that's what happened last night. that's why we were sleeping in ligala area, and someone told us we have to run away because a big army was coming from the desert side.

    >> reporter: lots of rumors. nobody knows what's going on.

    >> yeah. it's all confusing. we don't know anything. we never leave our country.

    >> reporter: do you think you're getting enough support from the west? it doesn't sound like you do.

    >> no, it's not. every day, every day, it doesn't matter where, they attack civilians, anything that move.

    >> reporter: where are you sleeping now? you look tired, you look frazzled.

    >> i didn't sleep in any house. the only place we sleep in is in my car.

    >> reporter: you sleep in your car?

    >> yeah.

    >> reporter: for how many days?

    >> one week.

    >> reporter: and you've been eating cookies?

    >> we finished the cookies, but we have some tuna and canned food . even the bread is --

    >> reporter: hard as a rock ?

    >> yeah. we need more support, especially with the weapons.

    >> reporter: thank you very much.

    >> i hope we're going to be free soon. and thank you for your support, guys.

    >> reporter: a own money. he spent about $3,000 on it. he has only a few rounds of ammunition and he doesn't even know how to load the weapon.

    >> you see the emotional turmoil that's going on there. i know you also talked to a shop owner whose english wasn't so great, but he is also somebody who is not trained, he's not somebody who is in the army or the military. you've also got to wonder just in terms of the sheer stress that they're under how long these guys can hold it together.

    >> reporter: there was an emotional scene at the front today because they've been losing. they were very excited a couple days ago when they were pushing forward, it would seem very easy, they were almost into gadhafi's home town. now they're being driven back, they're getting flanked in the desert, they're getting rained down on by weapons. and they don't know how to deal with it. it was almost sad out there, and then to see them try to put up their defenses, firing rockets -- i keep mentioning it -- in the wrong direction. it was a tough scene.

    >> and many decisions being made here so many thousands of miles away . richard, we will

NBC News and news services
updated 3/30/2011 10:19:40 PM ET 2011-03-31T02:19:40

As word surfaced Wednesday that President Barack Obama had authorized CIA operations in Libya and that the agency was using clandestine operatives to gather intel for airstrikes, the rebels lost ground and pleaded for heavier bombardment of Moammar Gadhafi's troops.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding," within the last two or three weeks, four government sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The New York Times, meanwhile, reported that CIA operatives have been collecting intelligence and making contacts with rebels. The agents' precise role was unclear.

The CIA sent small teams of operatives into Libya after the agency's station in the capital was forced to close, and CIA officers assisted in the rescue of one of the two crew members of an F-15E Strike Eagle that crashed, an American official and a former U.S. intelligence officer told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

They said CIA helped safely recover the F-15E Strike Eagle's weapons specialist, who was first picked up by rebels after the crash March 21. The pilot was rescued by Marines.

They suffered only minor injuries, the military has said. The crew ejected after the aircraft malfunctioned during a mission against a Libyan missile site.

Because U.S. and allied intelligence agencies still have many questions about the identities and leadership of anti-Gadhafi forces, any covert U.S. activities are likely to proceed cautiously until more information about the rebels can be collected and analyzed, officials said.

"The whole issue on training and equipment requires knowing who the rebels are," said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA Middle East expert who has advised the Obama White House.

The CIA would not comment on its activity.

"No decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any groups in Libya," said White House press secretary Jay Carney. "We're not ruling it out or ruling it in."

Obama said in a national address Monday night that U.S. troops would not be used on the ground in Libya. The statement allowed for wiggle room as the president explores options in case he decides to use covert action to ship arms to the rebels and train them. That would require a presidential finding.

In that event, the CIA would take the lead, as it has done in the past such as in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003. In those covert action programs, CIA officers along with special operation forces were sent in, providing arms to opposition forces to help fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Gadhafi's land forces outmatch the opposition by a wide margin and are capable of threatening the civilian resistance, said the senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Libya, Gadhafi's ground forces recaptured a strategic oil town Wednesday and moved within striking distance of another major eastern city, nearly reversing the gains rebels made since international airstrikes began.

Rebels pleaded for more help, while a senior U.S. intelligence official said government forces are making themselves harder to target by abandoning tanks for civilian "battle wagons": minivans, sedans and SUVs with makeshift armaments.

The change not only makes it harder to distinguish Gadhafi's forces from the rebels, it also requires less logistical support, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said airstrikes have degraded Gadhafi's forces since they were launched March 19, but the regime forces still outmatch those of the opposition "by far," and few members of Gadhafi's military have defected lately.

It had taken more than five days of allied bombardment to destroy government tanks and artillery in the strategic town of Ajdabiya before rebels rushed in and chased Gadhafi's troops 200 miles west in a two-day dash along the coast.

Two days later the rebels have been pushed back to close to where they started.

The Libyan army first ambushed the chaotic caravan of volunteers, supporters and bystanders outside Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, then outflanked them through the desert, a maneuver requiring the sort of discipline the rag-tag rebels lack.

The towns of Nawfaliyah, Bin Jawwad and Ras Lanouf, a key oil port, fell in quick succession to the lightning government counterstrike.

Rebel spokesman Col. Ahmad Bani said fighting was going on at Brega, the next town east along the narrow coastal strip that has been the theatre of most of the fighting.

A rebel soldier, Col. Abdullah Hadi, said he expected the loyalists to enter Brega by Wednesday night. "I ask NATO for just one aircraft to push them back. All we need is air cover and we could do this. They should be helping us," Hadi said.

NATO planes flew over the zone of the heaviest fighting Wednesday and explosions were heard, but rebels have called for more aggressive action.

Airstrikes have neutralized Gadhafi's air force and pounded his army, but those ground forces remain far better armed, trained and organized than the opposition. The rebels, with few weapons more powerful than rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, can attack targets 3 to 4 miles away, but the loyalists' heavy weapons have a range of 12 miles.

Many rebels had pulled back farther to Ajdabiya and regrouped.

"We thought it better to make a tactical withdrawal until we can think of better tactics and a strategy to face this force," said Bani, adding: "One of the defense points will be Ajdabiya, not the only one."

He appealed for more allied air strikes and heavier weapons. "We are seeking weapons that will be able to destroy the heavy weapons they are using against us such as tanks and artillery."

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Dozens of rebel pick-up trucks mounted with machineguns milled around the western gate of Ajdabiya. Confusion reigned.

Asked what was happening, one rebel said: "We don't know. They say there may be a group of Gadhafi's men coming from the south." That would suggest another big flanking move through the endless desert which pins the coast road to the sea.

Rebel forces lack training, discipline and leadership. There are many different groups of volunteers and decisions are often made only after heated arguments.

When they advance it is often without proper reconnaissance or protection for their flanks. Their courage and enthusiasm notwithstanding, the insurgents tend to flee in disarray whenever Gadhafi forces start sustained firing.

"Whether we advance 50 kilometers, or retreat 50 kilometers ... it's a big country. They will go back the next day," rebel spokesman Mustafa Gheriani told reporters in the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

Meanwhile, forces loyal to Gadhafi killed 18 civilians in the city of Misrata on Tuesday and the troops are still shelling and fighting skirmishes with rebels, a rebel spokesman said.

But a blockade of Misrata's Mediterranean port by pro-Gadhafi forces has now ended, allowing two ships to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate people wounded in the fighting, the spokesman told Reuters by telephone.

In other developments Wednesday:

  • In an hour-long private meeting for House members, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and the intelligence head faced tough questions, from the cost of the operation to the increasing concern about the makeup of the rebels. The top NATO commander has said he's seen "flickers" of al-Qaida and Hezbollah among the rebels, but no evidence of significant numbers. During the meeting, the intelligence chief, James Clapper, compared the rebel forces to a "pick-up basketball team." Members of Congress expressed frustration because administration officials couldn't say when the U.S. operation might end. "The main question I have is going forward, do we arm the rebels, what happens if Gadhafi holds on, what is our next move," said Adam Smith, D-Wash.  Said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas: "The administration answered as well as they could, given the ambiguity of the situation."
  • Gadhafi's forces have laid land mines in the eastern outskirts of Adjabiya, an area they held from March 17 until Saturday, when airstrikes drove them west, according to Human Rights Watch. The group cited the electricity director for eastern Libya, Abdal Minam al-Shanti, who said two anti-personnel mines detonated when a truck ran over them, but no one was hurt. Al-Shanti said a civil defense team found and disarmed more than 50 mines in what Human Rights Watch described as a heavily traveled area.
  • Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa defected upon flying into London. Koussa was one of Gadhafi's key officials and the architect of a dramatic shift in Libya's foreign policy that brought the country back to the international community after years of sanctions.
Story: The two faces of Gadhafi's right-hand man
  • Libya has chosen a veteran Nicaraguan diplomat, Miguel D'Escoto Brockman, to represent it at the United Nations, the Nicaraguan government said. D'Escoto is a former U.N. General Assembly president and a former Roman Catholic priest who later served as a foreign minister in Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government.
  • The Obama administration estimates U.S. military operations in Libya have cost about $550 million so far and will cost about $40 million a month going forward, a U.S. lawmaker said. "It's about $550 million," said Rep. Norm Dicks, the senior Democrat on the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

'Ultimately step down'
The apparent setbacks to the rebels followed comments by U.S. President Barack Obama that continued military and diplomatic pressure would force Gadhafi out of power.

In an interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Obama predicted Tuesday that continued military and diplomatic pressure would force Gadhafi to "ultimately step down."

Obama refused to rule out providing direct U.S. military assistance to the rebels fighting Gadhafi's government. But he said such assistance was unlikely and that his comments shouldn't be interpreted as signaling wider U.S. intervention in the region.

"Gadhafi's been greatly weakened," Obama said. "He does not have control over most of Libya at this point, and so for us to continue to apply this pressure, I think, will allow us the space and the time to forge the kind of political solution that's necessary."

Reuters, The Associated Press and NBC News contributed to this report.

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Photos: Libya's uprising against Gadhafi

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  1. People gathering in Benghazi, Libya in mid-February of 2011 as protest against the rule of Moammar Gadhafi grew, in part triggered by the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel. EDITOR'S NOTE: The content, date and location of this image could not be independently verified. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Buildings at the entrance to a security forces compound burn in Benghazi, Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (Alaguri / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi speaks on state television. Feb. 22, and signalled his defiance over a mounting revolt against his 41-year rule. (Libya TV via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Libyan U.N. ambassador Shalgham is embraced by Dabbashi, Libya's deputy U.N. Ambassador after denouncing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi for the first time during a Security Council meeting at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York on Feb. 25. Shalgam, a longtime friend and member of Gadhafi's inner circle, had previously refused to denounce Gadhafi. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Thousands of Libyans gather for the Muslim Friday prayers outside the courthouse in the eastern city of Benghazi on Feb. 25, 2011. Perhaps 8,000 people gathered for the midday prayers with a local imam, who delivered his sermon alongside the coffins of three men killed in the violent uprising that routed Gadhafi loyalists from Benghazi. (Gianluigi Guercia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint, who they accuse of being a loyalist to Gadhafi, between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 3, 2011. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Pro-Gadhafi soldiers and supporters gather in Green Square in Tripoli, March 6, 2011. Thousands of Moammar Gadhafi's supporters poured into the streets of Tripoli, waving flags and firing their guns in the air in the Libyan leader's main stronghold, claiming overnight military successes. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Rebel fighters jump away from shrapnel during heavy shelling by forces loyal to Gadhafi near Bin Jawad, March 6. Rebels in east Libya regrouped and advanced on Bin Jawad after Gadhafi forces ambushed rebel fighters and ejected them from the town earlier in the day. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Libyan rebel fighters take cover as a bomb dropped by an airforce fighter jet explodes near a checkpoint on the outskirts of the oil town of Ras Lanuf on March 7, 2011. (Marco Longari / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Libyan rebels fire rockets at government troops on the frontline. March 9, 2011 near Ras Lanuf. The rebels pushed back government troops westward towards Ben Jawat. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Libyan government soldiers aboard tanks at the west gate of the town Ajdabiyah March 16, 2011. Libya's army pounded an opposition-held city in the country's west and battled fighters trying to block its advance on a rebel bastion in the east amid flagging diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed. EDITOR'S NOTE: Picture taken on a government guided tour. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Libyan people in Benghazi celebrate after the United Nations Security Council authorized a no-fly zone over Libya, March 18. Thousands of Libyans erupted in cheers as the news flashed on a giant screen in besieged Benghazi late March 17. After weeks of discussion, the UN Security Council banned flights in Libya's airspace and authorized "all necessary means" to implement the ban, triggering intervention by individual countries and organizations like NATO. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A picture combo shows a Libyan jet bomber crashing after being apparently shot down in Benghazi on March 19, 2011 as the Libyan rebel stronghold came under attack. Air strikes and sustained shelling of the city's south sent thick smoke into the sky. (Patrick Baz / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Residents of Benghazi flee the city along the road toward Tobruk, in an attempt to escape fighting in their city, March 19, 2011. Gaddafi's troops pushed into the outskirts of Benghazi, a city of 670,000 people, in an apparent attempt to pre-empt Western military intervention expected after a meeting of Western and Arab leaders in Paris. (Reuters TV) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Gadhafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah March 20, 2011. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A rebel fighter carries his weapon outside the northeastern Libyan town of Ajdabiyah, March 21, 2011. A wave of air strikes hit Gaddafi's troops around Ajdabiyah, a strategic town in the barren, scrub of eastern Libya that rebels aim to retake and where their fighters said they need more help. (Finbarr O'reilly / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A Libyan rebel prays next to his gun on the frontline of the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, March 21, 2011. The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last "a while," a top French official said, echoing Moammar Gadhafi's warning of a long war ahead as rebels, energized by the strikes on their opponents. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Libyan rebels retreat as mortars from Gadhafi's forces are fired on them near the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, March 22, 2011. Coalition forces bombarded Libya for a third straight night, targeting the air defenses and forces of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi, stopping his advances and handing some momentum back to the rebels, who were on the verge of defeat. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A Libyan man is comforted by hospital staff as he reacts after identifying his killed brother in the morgue of the Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, March 22, 2011. His brother was killed earlier in fighting around the city of Ajdabiya. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Volunteer fighters training at a rebel army training camp in Benghazi, March 29, 2011. Pro-government forces intensified their attacks on Libyan rebels, driving them back over ground they had taken in recent days. The rebels had reached Nawfaliya, but pulled back to Bin Jawad. (Manu Brabo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Smoke billows as seven explosions were reported in the tightly-guarded residence of leader Moammar Gadhafi and military targets in the suburb of Tajura. Two explosions also rocked the Libyan capital Tripoli on March 29, 2011, as NATO-led coalition aircraft had been seen in the skies over the capital. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A Libyan rebel urges people to leave, as shelling from Gadhafi's forces started landing on the frontline outside of Bin Jawaad, 93 miles east of Sirte, March 29, 2011. (Anja Niedringhaus / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. General Abdel-Fattah Younis, former interior minister in the Gadhafi regime who defected in the early days of the uprising, is greeted by Libyan rebels at the front line near Brega, April 1, 2011. (Altaf Qadri / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Libyan men show the V-sign for victory as they stand on the deck of a Turkish ship arriving from Misrata to the port of Benghazi who were evacuated along with others the injured in the fighting between rebel and Gadhafi forces, April 03, 2011. The Turkish vessel took hundreds of people wounded in the Libyan uprising for treatment in Turkey from the two cities of Misrata and Benghazi. (Mahmud Hams / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. A wounded prisoner from Gadhafi's forces is transported in the back of a pickup truck by rebels, on the way to a hospital for treatment, half way between Brega and Ajdabiya, April 9, 2011. Rebels say they took two prisoners after a clash with soldiers near Brega's university outside the government-controlled oil facilities, marking a noticeable advance by rebels. (Ben Curtis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. In this image taken from TV, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi makes a pubic appearance in Tripoli, April 14 2011. Gadhafi defiantly waved at his supporters while being driven around Tripoli while standing up through the sunroof of a car. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A rebel fighter celebrates as his comrades fire a rocket barrage toward the positions of government troops April 14, 2011, west of Ajdabiyah. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Gadhafi supporters hold copies of his portrait as they gather at the Bab Al Azizia compound in Tripoli, April 15, 2011. Rebels held much of eastern Libya by mid-April, while Gadhafi controlled the west, with the front line shifting back and forth in the middle. (Pier Paolo Cito / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Doctors work on a baby who suffered cuts from shrapnel that blasted through the window of his home during fighting in the besieged city of Misrata, April 18, 2011. Thousands of civilians are trapped in Misrata as fighting continues between Libyan government forces that have surrounded the city and anti-government rebels there. The Libyan government has come under international criticism for using heavy weapons and artillery in its assault on Misrata. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. MISRATA, LIBYA - APRIL 20: Libyan rebel fighters discuss how to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from the next room during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata April 20, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Rebel forces assaulted the downtown positions of troops loyal to Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi April 20, briefly forcing them back over a key bridge and trapping several in a building that fought back instead of surrendering, firing on the rebels in the building and seriously wounding two of them during the standoff. Fighting continues between Libyan government forces that have surrounded the city and anti-government rebels ensconced there. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Libyan rebel fighters carry out a comrade wounded during an effort to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from a building during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata April 20, 2011. Rebel forces assaulted the downtown positions of troops loyal to Gaddafi, briefly forcing them back over a key bridge and trapping several in a building where they fought back instead of surrendering. Two rebels were seriously wounded during the standoff. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Rebels tread carefully as they prepare to invade a house where soldiers from the pro-government forces had their base in the Zwabi area of Misrata on April 24, 2011. (Andre Liohn / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Libyans inspect damage and an unexploded missile at the Gadhafi family compound in a residential area of Tripoli, May 1, 2011. Gadhafi escaped a NATO missile strike in Tripoli that killed one of his sons and three young grandchildren. EDITOR'S NOTE: Photo taken on a government guided tour. (Darko Bandic / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Moammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, center, leaves the funeral of his brother Saif Al-Arab Gadhafi, who was killed during air strikes by coalition forces, at the El Hani cemetery in Tripoli, May 2, 2011. Crowds chanting Gadhafi's name gathered in Tripoli for the funeral of his son and three grandchildren. (Louafi Larbi / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Fleeing migrants and Libyans are seen on board an International Organization of Migration ship leaving the port of Misrata on May 4, 2011, as Gadhafi forces continued to pound the city. (Christophe Simon / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Libyan men watch as the main fuel depot in Libya's third largest city, Misrata, burns following a bombing by Gadhafi's forces on May 7, 2011. Libyan regime forces shelled fuel depots in Misrata and dropped mines into its harbor using helicopters bearing the Red Cross emblem, rebels said as they braced for a ground assault. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Libyan rebels celebrate near the airport of Misrata on May 11, 2011 after capturing the city's strategic airport following a fierce battle with Moammar Gadhafi's troops -- their first significant advance in weeks. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Women react after a protest against Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Benghazi, Libya, on May 16, 2011. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, announced that he would seek arrest warrants against the leader of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and the country's intelligence chief on charges of crimes against humanity. (Rodrigo Abd / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Tripoli street in Misrata is seen from the terrace of a building used by Gadhafi’s snipers before the rebels took control of the area on May 22, 2011. The weeks-long siege of the city ended in mid-May and Tripoli Street was the site of the fiercest fighting in the battle and a turnin point in the war. (Rodrigo Abd / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. A rebel fighter gives water to a soldier loyal to Gadhafi after he was wounded and then captured near the front line, west of Misrata on May 23, 2011. (Rodrigo Abd / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. An uncle, left, prays over the body of one and a half year-old Mohsen Ali al-Sheikh during a washing ritual during the funeral at his family's house in Misrata, May 27, 2011. The child was killed by a gunshot during clashes between rebels and pro-Gadhafi forces earlier in the day. (Wissam Saleh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. The body of a drowned refugee floats near a capsized ship which was transporting an estimated 850 refugees from Libya, approximately 22 miles north of the Tunisian islands of Kerkennah, June 4, 2011. At least 578 survived the sinking. (Lindsay Mackenzie / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. A photograph taken from a video by a National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter shows Mutassem Gadhafi, son of Moammar Gadhafi, drinking water and smoking a cigarette following his capture and shortly before his death, in Sirte, Oct. 20, 2011. (- / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. A photograph taken from mobile phone video of a National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter shows the capture of Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte on Oct. 20, 2011. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. This image provided by the Libyan Youth Group on Nov. 19, 2011, shows Seif al-Islam Gadhafi after he was captured near the Niger border with Libya. Moammar Gadhafi's son, the only wanted member of the ousted ruling family to remain at large, was captured as he traveled with aides in a convoy in Libya's southern desert. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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