SALON.COM- Violence escalates in Libya. Unconfirmed reports say Gadhafi has fled as protesters march on compound.
UPDATE (2:10 P.M. EST)
Libyan fighter pilots who defected to Malta earlier this morning told Maltese that they’d been ordered to drop bombs on protesters, the Guardian reports.
UPDATE (1:10 P.M. EST)
A number of sources are reporting that Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi may have fled the country as protesters take hold in the capital city of Tripoli. Reuters reported that a British foreign minister had seen information suggesting that Gadhafi was headed to Venuzuela. The government of Hugo Chavez has denied those reports.
Meanwhile, as violence mounts, Ibrahim Dabbashi, the Libyan deputy ambassador to the United Nations, has reportedly said that the Libyan dictator “has declared war on the Libyan people and is committing genocide.”
Al Jazeera reports that security forces using fighter jets have opened fire on protesters maching on Libyan President Muammar Gadhafi’s compound in Tripoli. As phone lines have been cut throughout the country, incoming reports are largely unconfirmed, and foreign embassies are evacuating their personnel.
Al Jazeera summed up the events in Libya with an inside report about the regime’s efforts to crush the uprising:
DISTURBING FOOTAGE- Peaceful, unarmed protesters get gunned down by the Libyan army in broad daylight.
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