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Gruesome footage "proves" Libya using heavy arms

Gaddafi probably to commit suicide, Libya's interior minister

Britain's Times newspaper said Wednesday it had footage of severely wounded and dead protesters in a Libyan hospital which proved that heavy weapons were being used to crush the uprising, as the Libyan interior minister and some army units announced their siding with the Libyan revolt.

Shocking footage of corpses with bodies blasted off and patients with almost completely severed torsos provided "incontrovertible evidence" that heavy artillery was used, Martin Fletcher, the newspaper's associate editor said.

"It's not entirely clear how these men were killed, it could have been by fighter jets, it could have been by helicopter gunships, it could have been by mortar, it could have been by heavy machine guns," Fletcher said.

"One thing is abundantly clear, they were not killed by tear gas or by batons or by methods of suppressing peaceful protests that are generally considered the outer limits of what is acceptable," he added.

The images were taken at a hospital in Benghazi, the eastern Libyan city which was taken over by anti-regime groups on Monday after a bloody battle.

A senior aide to Muammar Gaddafi's influential son Saif al-Islam resigned on Wednesday, the latest official to walk out after the Libyan leader vowed to crush a revolt that threatens his four-decade rule.

Interior minister joins revolt

Libyan Interior Minister, meanwhile, told Al Arabiya that he has joined the popular revolution in his country, underscoring that he was a soldier in Libya's service.

In a phone call with Al Arabiya, Maj. Gen. Abdul Fattah Yunnes said that he had given his orders to his forces not to direct any weapon towards a Libyan. He denied being responsible for the massacres committed against the Libyans in recent days.

Yunnes said that one of Gaddafi's aids had shot at Gaddafi, while he was giving a speech at a rally recently, but he mistakenly injured another person. Yunnes added that the Libyan tribes are supporting the revolt and that protesters were in control of Benghazi. He added that all people have weapons now.

The Libyan official said that Gaddafi's speech was disappointing. He suggested that Gaddafi would not leave the country, but most probably he would commit suicide. "The Gaddafi regime is over," Yunnes told Al Arabiya.

"When people saw the speech they were angry and were shouting. They shouted 'No Gaddafi'. They were very agitated," said a resident of Benghazi.

"But today has been good. People are happy here, they are saying 'Benghazi is free'."

Veteran strongman Gaddafi Tuesday vowed to crush the revolt and warned he would purge the North African country "house by house" and "inch by inch" if protests continued.

Ibrahim Dabbashi, the Libyan deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters told reporters Tuesday that since Gaddafi's defiant speech, attacks on civilians had started in western Libya.

He named Gharyan, Zuwarah and other cities that he said were under attack by army units loyal to Gaddafi. Dabbashi did not give the source of his information or say what kind of attacks were being staged.

"They are attacking all the people in cities in western Libya," he said.

"Certainly the people have no arms. Now I think genocide started now in Libya," he added before being escorted away by U.N. security guards.

Al-Jabal al-Akhdar military unit

Al-Jabal al-Akhdar Military Unit leaders, meanwhile, announced their siding with the revolt in a statement released on the social network Facebook on Tuesday.

"We (all the officers and soldiers) in al-Jabal al-Akhdar and its suburbs announce that we have joined the popular revolution," the statement said.

The statement added that the military unit will work to preserve security and protect the public and private establishments. It called on all the armed forces to join them.

On Tuesday, the first official figures released by Gaddafi's regime since unrest broke out a week ago put the number of people killed at 300 people -- 189 civilians and 111 soldiers.

The largest number of fatalities were said to have been in second city Benghazi, which is located in the east of the country and is where most of the violence has occurred, an interior ministry spokesman said.

In Benghazi, 104 civilians and 10 soldiers were killed.

Military officers in the eastern city of Tobruk, still in uniform but no longer declaring allegiance to Gaddafi, said the eastern region was no longer in the hands of the Libyan leader.

The eastern region was the scene of an uprising against Gaddafi in 1996, the year of a massacre at a Tripoli prison in which many of those killed were from the Benghazi area.

Gaddafi used fighter jets to crush the rebellion against his rule in the al-Jabal al-Akhdar in 1996.

Earlier, figures provided at the venue of a press conference that was slated to be given by Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, said 300 people had died, but put the military casualty figure at only 58.

Although government restrictions have complicated the task of compiling a tally, Human Rights Watch has said 233 had been killed in the uprising while the International Federation for Human Rights put the toll at between 300 and 400.

"Calm restored"

Calm "has been restored in most of the large cities" in Libya, the president of the country's parliament said on Tuesday night, adding that "security forces and the army have re-established their positions."

Mohamed Zwei, president of the General People's Congress, also told a press conference that a commission of enquiry had been set up to investigate the eight-day revolt against veteran Libyan leader Gaddafi.

At the same time, he said "current conditions do not permit holding a meeting of parliament to discuss the reforms" announced earlier this week by Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam.

Meanwhile, Jebril el-Kadiki, deputy air force chief of staff, said that arms and ammunitions depots had been bombed in Rajma, near the eastern city of al-Baida; in Ajdabia and al-Gueriet in the south and near Zenten and Mezda in the southwest.

Kadiki said all of the facilities were located in desert areas, away from any inhabitation.

On Monday, Saif al-Islam said arms depots had been attacked in remote areas, denying reports that the armed forces had bombed the capital Tripoli and second city Benghazi.


(Compiled and translated by Abeer Tayel)