Fighters for the National Transitional Council have announced that they've captured Moussa Ibrahim, the spokesman for deposed strongman Col. Muammar Qaddafi, in Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte. NTC forces have been seeking Qaddafi for weeks since his regime toppled in August. Ibrahim, who Reuters referred to as "the face of the toppled government during the war," is one of Qaddafi's closest allies, and served as information minister under his regime. He's defended Qaddafi continually, as recently as Monday, when he told reporters via satellite phone that he had been in Sirte where NATO attacks were killing civilians. NATO denied that claim. The early reports are still a little shaky as the information is only coming from field commanders on the ground, without verification, but Agence France-Press is running with the story:
"Misrata fighters contacted us and gave us the information that Mussa Ibrahim has been captured," Mustafa bin Dardef, of the National Transitional Council's Zintan Brigade, told AFP on Thursday.
Another commander, Mohammed al-Marimi, said: "Mussa Ibrahim was captured while driving outside Sirte by fighters from Misrata."
A Xinhua report from earlier Thursday cited Libyan television reports that Ibrahim had been captured, and Sky News has picked up the story, but many outlets have held back on reporting the news. But some on Twitter refuted the claim. An account called TheTruthLibya tweeted, "Rumors that Dr. Moussa Ibrahim is captured by the NATO rats,is a lie... Do NOT believe in NATO propaganda." Many have treated the news with suspicion, as the NTC's reports of its progress have been proved false before, but Al Jazeera is going ahead with the story on its live blog from the fight.