Libya: Report from the ground
A Tripoli resident who was waiting for an evacuation flight described the situation at the Libya Air Base Friday to our correspondent Janine Zacharia via Skype instant messenger. Here's what the resident had to say:
It is hell! I had to leave the airport and head home at around 5:15 since we got the news that it is all out war in Tripoli since the Friday prayer. I wanted to get home before it got dark.
When I left the base, all hell came lose. Bullets flying all over the place. The regime's forces controlled the big streets and highways and the residents controlled the smaller streets and alleyways. I saw fires and roadblock set up by the residents to prevent security forces from entering their neighborhoods.
As I was driving home, I had to change routes all the time due to fierce firing by the regime's loyalists. The Fashloum area [near downtown Tripoli] is completely surrounded by security forces.
Weapons used were varied from shot guns, AK-47 to actually AAA (anti-aircraft artillery) if you believe it! I saw this with my own eyes. I also saw that ambulances that were trying to get to the injured in the Fashloum area were stopped by the security forces and would not let them enter. There were several dead and many injured amongst the unarmed protestors.
All along the way there were Land Cruisers with masked men. There were usually two-three men in the cabin and one riding in the back firing the AAA guns. Firing appeared to be random.
I saw no less than six people dead on the street in the Zenata area. I actually saw a body without a head.
Outside [it] sounds like a war zone. Random shooting all over the place. I suppose [all this] madness is to terrorize the population to dissuade them from rebellion. I saw on some TV reports that the Airbase has joined the rebellion, but I didn't notice anything while I was there. The airbase is definitely huge and we were on one side of it and possibly couldn't have noticed what was happening in the military section.
| February 25, 2011; 1:55 PM ET
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