Hunt for Qaddafi Takes Rebels Through Underground Tunnels

The passages include a bedroom and phone bank, but no Qaddafi

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In a bid to seize full control over Libya after days of heavy fighting in Tripoli, the rebels have intensified their hunt for Muammar Qaddafi today with the help of NATO for intelligence and reconnaissance. As Qaddafi, who has a $1.7 million bounty on his head courtesy of unidentified Libyan businessmen, issued yet another defiant radio message, rebel fighters claimed that they had surrounded the Libyan leader and some of his sons in an apartment building near his former compound in Tripoli. Nearby, other rebels uncovered a network of tunnels beneath the compound and began exploring them, as journalists tagged along and shot photos and video.

Qaddafi,  The Telegraph explains, constructed Tripoli's hundreds of miles of tunnels and bomb-proof bunkers so that he and his aides could move about the city undetected. The paper adds that the Libyan leader also built thousands of miles of "irrigation tunnels" in the 1980s to transport water between Libyan cities and towns and potentially also protect regime figures in the event of a hostile attack. In the AP photo below, a rebel fighter descends into one of the tunnels:

The rebels encountered a damaged electric golf cart:

And a bank of phones:

And a bedroom:

Here's a view of the entrance to one of the bunkers:

An Al Jazeera correspondent and cameraman joined the rebels as they moved through the passageways, and captured it all on film:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.