Libyan rebels. File photo by Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.
Moammar Gadhafi, already effectively driven from power by Libyan rebels, denied claims that he is in neighboring Niger in a phone call to a television station in Syria, attributing rumors to psychological warfare and claiming to still be in Libya.
Gadhafi has repeatedly urged his troops to continue fighting as the opposition presses remaining loyalists to surrender. The National Transitional Council, the rebels’ governing structure, has asked the government of Niger not to offer Gadhafi refuge. Earlier this week, a convoy of vehicles was seen crossing Libya’s southern border into Niger.
In Gadhafi’s stronghold of Bani Walid on Thursday, loyalists fired around 10 rockets at rebel forces. Thousands of Gadhafi’s troops and possibly his son Saif al-Islam are believed to be in Bani Walid, but Gadhafi’s whereabouts are still unknown.
Lee Brings Heavy Rain, Flooding to East Coast
Remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, which hit the Gulf States earlier this week, are now causing flooding from Washington, D.C., through New England in areas already drenched in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Around 100,000 people are under evacuation orders in central Pennsylvania, and two people were killed in the rising waters. Binghamton, N.Y., was also subject to evacuations.
Air travel was delayed out of Washington, D.C., New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Fallen trees on roads and flooded train tracks have also snarled ground travel.
Bomb Blasts Kill 8 in Afghanistan
Two NATO troops were killed in southern Afghanistan on Thursday and five Afghan troops were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday. A Turkish engineer was also killed while working on a road construction project in Herat, to the east, after the vehicle he was in hit a roadside bomb.
The attacks precede several days of high alert in Afghanistan ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The Associated Press reports:
Afghan security forces have been placed on alert and many international aid organizations and embassies have advised foreigners living and working in Afghanistan to limit their movements over the weekend starting Friday – which marks the 10th anniversary of the death of legendary Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massood. He was killed in a suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11 attacks, and his forces later helped the United States rout the Taliban after the Oct. 7 invasion of Afghanistan.