British journalists are among dozens of foreign nationals trapped inside a Tripoli hotel by gunmen loyal to embattled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The situation in the Rixos hotel was described as “desperate” by a BBC correspondent, with food and water supplies running low and armed men roaming the corridors.
The corporation’s Matthew Price said he was one of around 35 foreigners, including journalists and politicians, inside the besieged establishment.
The hotel was the scene of Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam’s surprise reappearance earlier this week and has remained in the hands of those loyal to the dictator even as large parts of the capital fell to rebel advances.
The Rixos is the hotel where the Gaddafi government obliged foreign journalists to stay when reporting on this conflict.
Price told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s a desperate situation for about 35 foreign nationals here, Brits, Americans… there’s a US congressman here, there’s an Indian parliamentarian here.
“The situation deteriorated massively overnight when it became clear that we were unable to leave the hotel of our own free will.
“Gunmen were roaming around the corridors. We believe there are still snipers on the roof of the hotel and effectively our movements are curtailed.”
He added: “There is a huge amount of apprehension and nervousness amongst the journalists stuck here in the hotel.”