Interpol alert over Gaddafi regime
Interpol has issued a worldwide alert against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and 15 of his close associates as the international community continued to ratchet up the pressure on the Libyan dictator.
The international police agency's "orange notice" describes the regime figures as individuals who have been identified "as being involved in or complicit in planning attacks, including aerial bombardments, on civilian populations".
The move comes as it was confirmed that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) had seized a ship heading for Tripoli packed with £100 million of Libyan banknotes.
Interpol's alert covers members of Gaddafi's family including seven of his sons, among them Saif, and his daughter Aisha, as well the defence minister, the head of external security, the director of military intelligence and Gaddafi's head bodyguard.
The alert is intended to help ensure police authorities in Interpol's 188 member states enforce the international travel bans and asset freezes imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
Chancellor George Osborne said he had been receiving daily updates on the progress of the seized ship which had been monitored by the British authorities for the past week. The vessel was escorted by the UKBA cutter HMC Vigilant into the port of Harwich, Essex, on Wednesday where the UKBA took control of its cargo, moving a number of containers to a secure location.
It is understood the ship was intercepted after it returned to British waters following an abortive attempt to dock in the Libyan capital. The Treasury has already blocked one cargo of £900 million of Libyan banknotes, which are printed in the UK, from leaving as well as freezing bank accounts belonging to Gaddafi.
Meanwhile, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced the UK was stepping up its assistance to refugees stranded in camps on the border after fleeing the violence in Libya.
It was confirmed that the 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, which has been put on standby to assist with humanitarian relief and evacuation operations, remains on 24 hours' notice to move. It also emerged that the Foreign Office was looking at the possibility of sending a diplomatic team into the eastern city of Benghazi to establish direct contact with the rebels who control the city.
There is also concern within Whitehall to find out what is happening in the west of Libya where it is thought the heaviest fighting has been taking place. The regime has denied access to the Red Cross and aid agencies and officials have little idea of the situation on the ground.