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£1m for Gaddafi 'dead or alive'

A £1 million reward has been offered for the capture of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as Foreign Secretary William Hague called on the Libyan dictator to recognise his 42-year rule was over and stand down his forces.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the Transitional National Council, said he supported the offer by Libyan businessmen for a reward of two million Libyan dinars to anyone handing over Gaddafi "dead or alive". He also offered amnesty to "members of (Gaddafi's) close circle who kill him or capture him".

His comments came as some 35 journalists held at the Hotel Rixos in Tripoli were released by soldiers loyal to the 69-year-old dictator. The hotel is reported to be one of the last buildings under the control of Gaddafi's forces.

Earlier, jubilant rebel fighters swept through the capital following Tuesday night's successful siege of the despot's heavily-fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound. After storming the luxury home, they raised the new Libyan flag over buildings and looted Gaddafi's personal possessions, including his famous colonel's hat - effectively ending the brutal 42-year regime.

Some of Gaddafi's closest allies in government also appear to be deserting him. Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, Gaddafi's former foreign minister, told Channel 4 News that the regime had come to an end. Speaking from Tripoli, he said the rebels were now responsible for restoring law and order to Libya.

But Gaddafi was still resisting arrest as he went on the run. He said it was a "tactical" move to flee his base in Tripoli, adding that he had gone on a discreet tour of the Libyan capital and did not feel in danger.

Mr Hague said it was now time for Gaddafi to recognise defeat. Speaking after he chaired a meeting of the National Security Council in London, Mr Hague said: "There is a clear, fundamental decisive rejection of the regime by the people of Libya. I think it is time now for Colonel Gaddafi to stop issuing delusional statements and recognise that that has happened, that control of the country is not going to return. He should be telling his dwindling remaining forces now to stand down."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has instigated a "friends of Libya" conference in Paris, scheduled for next Thursday. Mr Sarkozy said countries which took part in the campaign against Gaddafi were invited, along with China, Russia, India and Brazil, to discuss rebuilding the country.

In a statement, Downing Street said the conference was a joint Franco-British initiative. A spokesman said: "This will be an opportunity for the NTC to set out how the international community can help them on the path to establishing a free, democratic and inclusive Libya and for all those who wish to support Libya to discuss the role that they can play to support this."

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reported soldiers from 22 SAS Regiment are helping to hunt for Gaddafi after receiving orders from Mr Cameron. Defence sources told the newspaper the special forces soldiers have been in Libya for several weeks.


From Belfast Telegraph