No sign that Gaddafi has left Libya: Pentagon

Gaddafi has not been seen in public for weeks amid speculation the veteran leader was hiding in his compound in Tripoli.

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2011, 12:38 PM IST

Washington: The Pentagon believes Libya`s
Muammar Gaddafi has not fled the country, a military spokesman
said on Monday, as rebel forces swept into the Libyan capital.

It`s "probably fair to stay that we believe he`s still
in the country," spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters.

"We do not have information that he`s left the
country."

The US military continued to provide support for the
NATO-led air campaign over Libya while the situation in
Tripoli was "fluid" after rebels overran regime forces, Lapan
said.

Gaddafi`s exact whereabouts remained unclear, he said.

Gaddafi has not been seen in public for weeks amid
speculation the veteran leader was hiding in his compound in
Tripoli.

With a possible post-Gaddafi international
peacekeeping mission on the horizon, Lapan ruled out the
deployment of any US ground troops as part of a UN or NATO
ground force.

"There will not be US boots on the ground," he said.

"If there`s going to be some type of transitional
mission, that remains to be seen, whether it comes out of the
UN or NATO.

"But we still do not plan any US forces going on the
ground in Libya."

The United States has contributed aircraft mainly for
refuelling and surveillance flights for the NATO campaign,
launched in March, as well as armed Predator drones.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, who was on vacation in
California, had been briefed on events in Tripoli and
participated in a teleconference call with President Barack
Obama and his advisors Sunday evening, press secretary George
Little told reporters.

PTI