Reuters has a flash report quoting British foreign minister William Hague, who says he has seen intelligence that suggests Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has already fled the capital in Tripoli and is en route to Venezuela. The New York Times had previously reported that Qaddafi’s grip on power was slipping:
The 40-year-rule of Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi appeared to teeter Monday as his security forces retreated to a few buildings in the Libyan capital of Tripoli where fires burned unchecked, senior government officials and diplomats announced defections, and the country’s second-largest city remained under the control of rebels.
Security forces loyal to Mr. Qaddafi defended a handful of strategic locations, including the state television headquarters and the presidential palace, witnesses reported from Tripoli. Fires from the previous night’s rioting burned at many intersections, most stores were shuttered, and long lines were forming for a chance to buy bread or gas.
In a sign of growing cracks within the government, several senior officials — including members of the the Libyan mission to the United Nations — announced their resignations. And protesters in Benghazi, the city where the revolt began, issued a list of demands calling for a secular interim government led by the army in cooperation with a council of Libyan tribes.
Security forces loyal to Mr. Qaddafi waved green flags as they rallied in Tripoli’s central Green Square Monday under the protection of a handful of police, these witnesses said. But they constituted one of the few visible signs of government authority around the capital.
Meanwhile Al-Jazeera is reporting that Libyan protesters are now being bombed by military jets.
Stay tuned at Egypt Watch for the latest on protests around the Middle East.