Gadhafi plays chess as fighting rages across Libya

Gadhafi plays chess as fighting rages across Libya

Libyan state television showed footage of Moammar Gadhafi playing chess with the head of the World Chess Federation, as fighting between the Libyan strongman’s forces and rebels raged on many fronts on Monday.

The images broadcast late Sunday showed the chess game between Gadhafi and FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov being watched by the Libyan leader’s eldest son Muhammad.

Gadhafi, who was last seen in public when was shown on television welcoming South African President Jacob Zuma to Tripoli on May 30, wore a brown cloak and dark sunglasses. The television did not say where the chessboard meeting took place but Ilyumzhinov told Russia’s Interfax news agency that he had played against Gadhafi in Tripoli on Sunday.

The Russian eccentric who once claimed he hosted extraterrestrials, also sat down for a game of chess with Gadhafi’s son Muhammad and the two played the Sicilian defence, Interfax said.

“The meeting lasted around two hours, we played some chess with Gadhafi,” Ilyumzhinov, who is on a visit to Tripoli in his capacity as FIDE president, told Interfax.

“Gadhafi stated that he is not going to leave Libya, stressing that it is his motherland and a land where his children and grandchildren died. He also said that he does not understand which post he needs to step down from.”

“I am neither premier nor president nor king. I do not hold any post in Libya and therefore I have no position which I should give up,” Ilyumzhinov quoted Gadhafi as telling him.

Ilyumzhinov, who also met with foreign and education ministers, said he saw a lot of destruction in Tripoli.

The chessboard encounter came as fighting between Gadhafi’s forces and rebels raged across Libya, with casualties reported in Zintan and the regime saying it had eliminated resistance in Zawiyah west of the capital.

Battles were also being fought in the Berber mountains southwest of Tripoli, in nearby Yafran, and at Dafnia near Misrata, Libya’s third city, rebel sources said.

An AFP correspondent said Gadhafi’s forces pounded the outskirts of Zintan on Sunday, killing at least seven rebels.

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