Gaddafi most likely wounded, left Tripoli: Italy

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has very likely left the capital Tripoli and has most likely been wounded, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Friday.

Last Updated: May 13, 2011, 22:04 PM IST

La Bagnaia, Italy: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has very likely left the capital Tripoli and has most likely been wounded, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Friday.

A Libyan government spokesman denied that Gaddafi had been wounded.

Frattini told reporters that he believed what he had been told by Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Catholic bishop in Tripoli, that "Gaddafi was most probably outside Tripoli and probably even wounded" by NATO airstrikes.

"I tend to give credence to the comment of the bishop of Tripoli, Monsignor Martinelli, who has been in close contact over recent weeks, when he told us that Gaddafi is very probably outside Tripoli and is probably also wounded. We don`t know.
"It`s nonsense," Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said in Tripoli. "The leader is in high morale. He`s in good spirits. He is leading the country day by day. He hasn`t been harmed at all."

Contacted from Rome, Martinelli`s office said he had left the Libyan capital for Tunis.

As the Vatican`s top official in Tripoli, Martinelli has been in contact with Gaddafi`s entourage.

The Italian prelate joined a Muslim cleric in blessing the bodies of Gaddafi`s youngest son and three grandchildren who were killed in a NATO raid on April 30.

Since the start of the NATO operation, Martinelli has been highly outspoken and critical of the military strikes, saying that many civilians had been killed.

Bureau Report