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Gunfire Erupts In Libyan Capital

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Gunfire Erupts In Libyan Capital

Africa

Gunfire Erupts In Libyan Capital

Gunfire Erupts In Libyan Capital

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The streets of Libya's capital were quiet when gunfire broke out for a second night on Sunday.

(Soundbite of gunfire)

GUY RAZ, host:

And here are some of the latest sounds we're getting from our correspondent in the Libyan capital.

(Soundbite of gunfire)

RAZ: Joining me now from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, is our correspondent David Greene.

And, David, behind you, as we just heard, some artillery fire, gunfire. Is that what we're hearing?

DAVID GREENE: You know, Guy, it's hard to say. I'm standing on the roof of our hotel in the center of Tripoli. And what we heard mostly and what we're still hearing a bit of now, it seems, is anti-aircraft fire.

I mean, you know the tracers that you see lighting up the sky. These are red. And the constant sound of anti-aircraft fire over a period of probably 10 minutes. And again, it's quieted a little bit.

Not clear what it is. I mean, of course, we have confirmation that, you know, there have been American planes flying over Tripoli. This anti-aircraft fire, it seems in the vicinity of Moammar Gadhafi's large, sprawling military compound, which is just maybe less than a kilometer from our hotel.

So it is possible that the Libyan military is putting on a display to, you know, send a message, don't come near this compound. We're not sure. But a lot of noise here over Tripoli, again for the second night in a row.

RAZ: At what point did this latest barrage begin?

GREENE: It began maybe an hour or so after sundown here, around 8 p.m., which was a lot earlier than last night. We got the real barrage last night, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, around two, 3 a.m. And so things - the sky lit up a little earlier this evening.

RAZ: David, while you were out, during the daytime, what did the city of Tripoli feel like?

GREENE: It seemed like a more tense city today, Guy, I think, after all the action and noise of last night. There were a lot more shops closed. The streets seemed emptier. But we actually went to what seemed to be the center of activity in the city today, which was a large-scale funeral service along the Mediterranean Sea, in a cemetery.

And what the Libyan government is saying is that as many as 26 people were killed in the first round of airstrikes. We saw graves that were prepared for members of the military.

We stood by a ceremony for what people said was a three-month-old girl who died in her house.

Now, we have to say, Guy, there's no way to independently confirm this, and Moammar Gadhafi is certainly known over the years for orchestrating, you know, PR events. So it's difficult. You never want to question, you know, a grieving family, but it was very difficult to sort out.

One gentleman who sort of walked away from the funeral a little bit came over and quietly talked to a few reporters and said, you know, this is really all a sham. None of those military strikes actually hit civilians. And so, really, you know, difficult to figure out the truth.

RAZ: David, earlier today, you spoke with my colleague Liane Hansen. You described protesters coming into the hotel, where you and many of the journalists are staying, chanting anti-American slogans. Are you getting that sense when you talk to people or see people on the streets of Tripoli?

GREENE: It's building, Guy. The anger is building. That crowd came into our hotel very early in the morning, through the restaurant, screaming anti-American, anti-British, anti-French, anti-CNN, anti-Al-Jazeera, basically saying that you're all lying.

And when we were out on the streets today, I had one gentleman come up to me and say, you need to start telling the truth, or I'm going to make you pay the price. So it's becoming a little more tense for the journalists who are here.

RAZ: That's NPR's David Greene, reporting for us from the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

David, stay safe. Thank you.

GREENE: Thank you. I appreciate it, Guy.

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