Updated 5:52 p.m. ET
- (Reuters) Al Arabiya TV is reporting air strikes of some kind on Qaddafi's compound in the hotly contested coastal city of Ajdabiya.
- (AP) Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged Wednesday that there is no clear end to the international military enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, and says no one was ever under any illusion that the assault would last just two or three weeks. He added that the U.S. could turn over control of the operation as soon as Saturday, but could not say how the coalition operation might be resolved.
- (CBS/AP) Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber said the coalition is targeting Muammar Qaddafi's mechanized forces, his artillery and mobile missile sites as well as ammunition and other supplies for government troops. He says that with the eastern city of Benghazi in rebel control, coalition forces have moved west to try to protect Ajdabiya and Misrata. Officials also reported bombing an ammunition depot Wednesday near Misrata.Continue »
The document, brokered by Egypt and signed in Cairo, was accepted by Fatah, its rival Hamas and all other factions, including the secular Popular Front, Islamic Jihad and the left-wing Palestinian People's Party.
"We announce to Palestinians that we turn forever the black page of division," said Abbas, who was speaking at the ceremony, adding that Israel must "choose between settlements and peace."Continue »
UNITED NATIONS - The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court will submit his first applications for arrest warrants for members of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's regime - possibly for the autocrat himself - "in the next weeks," based on evidence of war crimes being committed "as a matter of policy."
In an advance copy of the report to the United Nations Security Council obtained by CBS News, the ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, says evidence in a newly-created crime database shows "shooting at peaceful protesters" by Qaddafi's security forces has been systematic.Continue »
While Osama bin Laden had maintained his supremacy within extremist circles as the spiritual head of al Qaeda, his influence among Muslim adherents in general has waned considerably over the last decade, according to a survey taken in the weeks leading up to his death.
A report released Monday by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, a project of the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center, shows that in six predominantly-Muslims nations recently surveyed, little support was found for bin Laden.
In the Palestinian territories - where the terrorist leader received his greatest level of support among Muslims - only 34 percent said they were confident that bin Laden would do the right thing in world affairs. Similar support was even lower among Muslims in Indonesia (26 percent), Egypt (22 percent) and Jordan (13 percent), He had virtually no support among Muslims in Turkey (3 percent) and Lebanon (1 percent).Continue »
Aisha el-Qaddafi, the 36-year-old lawyer daughter of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi told the New York Times in an exclusive interview that she likes telling her three children bedtime stories about life after death, especially during the war.
"To make them ready," she said during the interview, "because in a time of war you never know when a rocket or a bomb might hit you, and that will be the end."
Qaddafi, who once served on Saddam Hussein's defense team, compared NATO's efforts in Libya to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, predicting a situation even worse for Libya's future.
"The opposition in Iraq told the West that when you come to Iraq they will greet you with roses," Qaddafi told the New York Times. "Almost 10 years later they are receiving the Americans with bullets, and, believe me, the situation in Libya will be much worse."
The only daughter of Muammar Qaddafi insulted both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, telling the New York Times that Obama "achieved nothing so far" and asking Clinton, "Why didn't you leave the White House when you found out about the cheating of your husband?"
According to the New York Times, Qaddafi repeatedly asked for talks, saying, "The world should come together at a round table...under the auspices of international organizations," while dismissing negotiations with the opposition, calling them "terrorists".
Qaddafi also laughed at the irony of the United Nations referring her to the International Criminal Court recently, when it once "begged" her to be a UN goodwill ambassador.
When asked about her father's mindset, Qaddafi told the New York Times, "He is as strong as the world knows him." She was sure that the people of Libya supported him. "He is quite sure that the Libyan people are loyal to him," said Qaddafi.
While Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi has mostly avoided speaking with foreign media since the uprising in his country began, his sons have largely become the public face of the dictator's attempt to stay in power against mounting international pressure.
Now, however, Aisha Qaddafi, the only female among Qaddafi's eight children, has granted a rare interview to The New York Times. It may be her first interview with Western media since she spoke to the British newspaper The Telegraph last October.Continue »
Updated at 11:42 a.m. ET
The conflict in Libya is moving closer to a "stalemate," but the United States will not take steps to arm the rebels at this point, Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday.
"The U.S. position on arming the rebels is clear... right now, that's not going to happen" Mullen told reporters at a press conference in Iraq.
He said that the fighting in the eastern cities of Ajdabiyah and Brega had become "essentially very stalemate-like" and noted that, while Qaddafi's forces had been degraded by 30 to 40 percent, they have also shifted tactics in order to minimize the threat of NATO airstrikes.
"Regime forces have changed tactics where they look like [the] opposition so it's become a more difficult fight with more difficult targets," said Mullen.
Mullen also reiterated that the long-term U.S. goal is "to see Qaddafi and his family out of power" though specifics about how the achieve that end are unclear.
In a move to further aid the rebels, President Barack Obama authorized the use of armed Predator drones in Libya on Qaddafi forces.
It is the first time that drones will be used for airstrikes since the conflict began on March 19, although they have routinely been flying surveillance missions, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters Thursday.
Gates said the U.S. will provide up to two 24-hour combat air patrols each day.
U.S. Sen. John McCain supports the decision to use Predator drones.
Speaking to CBS News' Allen Pizzey in Benghazi (where the Republican Senator was visiting to meet with the opposition National Transition Council and members of the rebel military), McCain said the armed drones should have been used earlier.
"I hope the Predator will be effective. It will hopefully prevent further humanitarian disaster taking place in Misrata," McCain said.
However, BBC News notes that Libya's deputy foreign minister has warned the use of drones would increase civilian casualties, and he predicted they would not change the outcome of the conflict.
"They [drones] will kill more civilians and this is very sad," Khaled Khaim said. "It's for the Libyans to choose their destiny - not by sending more weapons or more air strikes, or more money and weapons to the rebels."
"I think what they are doing is undemocratic, illegitimate," Khaim said.
The BBC also reports Mullen, in an earlier address to U.S. troops in Iraq, said there has been little evidence radical groups have taken advantage of the Libya revolt.
"We're watchful of it, mindful of it and I just haven't seen much of it at all," Mullen said. "In fact, I've seen no al-Qaeda representation there at all."
Last month the top NATO commander, U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, said he'd seen "flickers" of al Qaeda and Hezbollah fighters among the rebels, but no evidence of significant numbers within the Libyan opposition group's leadership.
Hetherington, who held dual U.S.-U.K. citizenship, and Hondros were veteran war photographers who had seen heavy fighting in several other conflicts.
Barely a week after nearly two dozen people were left dead by riots in Afghanistan following Florida Pastor Terry Jones' burning of a Quran, news comes from Britain that a candidate for political office in Wales was caught on camera burning a Quran as well.
Footage of Sion Owens, 40, from south Wales, allegedly showing him soaking the Quran in kerosene and setting fire to it was leaked to the Guardian newspaper, which wrote in a report of the incident that they immediately turned the video over to authorities.
Owens was then arrested for his alleged act within hours of police receiving the video, the Guardian reports. A second person, believed to have filmed the Quran burning, is also in police custody.Continue »
Former congressman Curt Weldon is expected to meet with Muammar Qaddafi in Libya sometime this week, and says he plans to ask the embattled leader to step aside.
Weldon was part of a congressional delegation to Libya in 2004 and has visited the country several times. His current visit is a private mission at the invitation of the Qaddafi government, but with the knowledge of the White House and members of congress, Weldon told CBS News producer Ben Plesser and a reporter from the Wall Street Journal.
Sitting in the lobby of his hotel in Tripoli Wednesday, the former congressman seemed aware of the fact that his visit to Libya, and his meeting with Muammar Qaddafi would draw criticism back home.
"I'm not here to argue about whether I'm allowed to be here," Weldon said. "I'm not doing anything illegal. No one's paying me to be here. I'm here because I want to do something positive. And I want to help my government get out of what is a very difficult situation. I'm not here to undermine Barack Obama."Continue »
(CBS/AP) Despite complaints from Libya's rebels that the NATO campaign is not doing enough to protect civilians, the coalition airstrikes appear to be having some effect on strongman Muammar Qaddafi.
Qaddafi appealed in a letter to President Barack Obama to halt the NATO operation to protect opponents of his regime. The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, implores Obama to stop what he called an "unjust war against a small people of a developing country."
A U.S. official confirms that the U.S. considers the rambling three-page letter to be authentic.Continue »
The U.S. has dropped financial sanctions against Moussa Koussa, the top Libyan official who defected to Britain last week, reports the New York Times.
Officials said the move was made to encourage further defections from Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's inner circle.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said earlier the EU would open talks this week on lifting restrictions imposed on Moussa Koussa. It is unclear what impact the Obama administration's decision to lift its sanctions would have on the Europeans' decision.
Complicating the case of Koussa is the fact that his insider information on Qaddafi's regime is invaluable, and that his insider status in Libya implicates him in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people - most of them Americans.Continue »
Muammar Qaddafi may be looking for a way out.
British newspaper the Guardian reports that Qaddafi sent a trusted envoy to London for secret talks with British officials.
A senior aide to Qaddifi's son Saif al-Islam, Mohammed Ismail, visited London, British government sources close to the situation have confirmed to the Guardian. Libyan officials are believed to have met with officials in the west, signaling that Qaddafi may be looking for an exit plan.
News of the visit comes hours after the defection of Qaddafi henchman and foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, defected from the regime.
The defection of Libya's foreign minister this week has renewed hopes that Muammar Qaddafi can be directly tied to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that took place nearly 23 years ago.
Moussa Koussa, the Libyan official who British officials said resigned Wednesday after travelling to England, was a "key organizer" of the bombing, the Central Intelligence Agency's lead investigator into the bombing told CBS News Thursday. All 259 people on the plane and 11 people on the ground were killed when the plane crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, Dec. 21, 1988.
Amid questions over whether al Qaeda is amongst Libya's rebels, the CIA has landed in the tumultuous North African country to provide them support, according to reports.
More than a dozen covert CIA operatives have already been sent to Libya to "lay the groundwork for funneling American aid to the insurgents," reports the National Journal.
The move follows President Barack Obama's signing of a secret order authorizing covert support for the rebels. The exact nature of the support is unclear, and any further covert operations require Congressional approval, reports Reuters.
In 2009 Obama gave a similar authorization for the expansion of covert U.S. counter-terrorism actions by the CIA in Yemen, Reuters reports. The White House does not normally confirm such orders have been issued.Continue »