Journalists still stuck in Tripoli's Rixos hotel amid reports of nearby mortar and RPG fire


While both the rebel and Gaddafi forces claim control over Tripoli, dozens of journalists are still understood to be trapped in the Rixos hotel in the city.

Among them is the BBC’s Matthew Price, who reported on Sunday that there were 35 journalists still in the hotel.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme , Price revealed how Gadaffi’s son Seif al-Islam had visited the hotel at 1.15am this morning – disproving widespread reports that he had been captured by rebel forces.

Price said that al-Islam told him: “We are winning then battle for Tripoli, he said we have broken the backbone of the rebels. That it had been a trap and that they have the rebels on the ropes.”

According to Associated Press, Al-Islam took some reporters on a drive through parts of the city still under the regime’s control early this morning, saying: “We are going to hit the hottest spots in Tripoli.”

According to Matthew Price journalists from the BBC, CNN, Reuters, AP and Sky are among those in the Rixos. Tweeting at 8am he said that journalists were in “good spirits”.

The BBC Battle for Tripoli live blog reported at 10.58am Price reporting that there “is sustained gunfire – mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades…at a distance from the hotel and he cannot tell which side the fire is coming from”.

BBC foreign editor Jon Williams said on Twitter just before 11am this morning: “Situation deteriorating at Rixos in Tripoli – hotel received incoming mortar & RPG fire. Journos safe but took shelter in basement.”

Tweeting from inside the hotel at around 10am yesterday, Monday, Reuters correspondent Missy Ryan said: “Dont want to hype situation. Doors not locked but we’re unable to leave due to guards, snipers. May change in next few hrs inshallah.”

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