Bloomberg News

Air Strikes Destroy Libya State TV Dishes in Tripoli, NATO Says

July 30, 2011

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- Fighter aircraft destroyed three satellite transmission dishes in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, used by state television to broadcast government propaganda, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said.

The air strikes will reduce Muammar Qaddafi’s ability to mobilize supporters and intimidate the Libyan people, while preserving “broadcast infrastructure that will be needed after the conflict,” NATO said in a statement on its website today.

As the alliance’s military campaign in Libya enters its fifth month, the conflict remains at a stalemate, with Qaddafi retaining control of Tripoli, and rebel offensives in recent weeks failing to capture Brega in the east or Zlitan, near Misrata, in the west.

The rebels’ Transitional National Council is recognized by about 30 nations as Libya’s legitimate governing authority. The council is investigating the death of rebel military chief Abdel Fattah Younis, who was shot dead earlier this week along with two of his aides.

Al-Qaeda was behind the assassination, proving the rebels have no power even in their stronghold of Benghazi, Sky News cited Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Qaddafi, as saying yesterday.

The situation behind the death is “still unclear,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said yesterday. The U.S. envoy in Benghazi is talking to the TNC and “trying to get a clearer idea of what happened,” Toner told reporters in Washington.

Ties to Qaddafi

Rebel security officers had arrested Younis along with two of his aides and brought them back from the front lines at the oil town of Brega to Benghazi to be questioned about suspicions his family still had ties to Qaddafi, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the TNC, said in a televised statement on July 28.

Jalil declined to answer questions and provided few details in the statement, which left unclear whether the killings were the work of Qaddafi supporters or the result of a rift among the rebels.

A native of Benghazi, Younis announced he was switching sides on Feb. 22, a few days after street protests broke out against Qaddafi’s leadership.

The appointment of Younis as chief of staff of the opposition forces, which gave him day-to-day control over the fighting, provoked controversy among the rebels because he had been a key aide to Qaddafi.

--With assistance from Nicole Gaouette in Washington and Chris Stephen in Misrata: Editors: Paul Tighe, Jim McDonald

To contact the reporter on this story: Ed Johnson in Sydney at Ejohnson28@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net


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