Gunfire near foreign media hotel in Tripoli

Filed on August 22, 2011

TRIPOLI - Fierce gunfire broke out near the hotel used by the foreign media in the centre of the Libyan capital late on Sunday, an AFP correspondent said.

Gunmen loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles opened fire from outside the Hotel Rixos towards the east, although their target was not visible.

Journalists used white sheets marked “TV” to try to avoid the hotel being targeted.

But the hotel management as well as its Swiss manager left the building, saying staff had been warned it could be attacked because of the presence of pro-regime officials.

Earlier on Sunday, Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi told journalists at the hotel that “Western intelligence are working alongside Al-Qaeda to destroy Libya.”

With rebels closing in on the city, foreign journalists received passes from the International Organisation for Migration to be evacuated.

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