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LIBYA: Al Jazeera staffer possibly shot inside Kadafi compound

August 23, 2011 | 11:00 am

Rixos

An Al Jazeera journalist has been shot inside Moammar Kadafi's embattled Tripoli compound, the Arabic-language satellite network reported Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear who the journalist was or how seriously the person was injured.

Kadafi's Bab Azizia complex, which came under siege by hundreds of rebels Tuesday, was still smoldering late Tuesday. Sporadic gunfire sounded as looters emerged from the building with televisions, chandeliers, medical files and other items, according to CNN. Men raised what appeared to be automatic rifles in the streets and as they cruised by in the back of pickup trucks, firing into the air.

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CNN's Sara Sidner said she had been hit by part of a shell as she was speaking.

"I may need to put on a uniform," she said, as a cameraman handed her more protective clothing than the helmet and vest she was already wearing. When she lost her audio connection, she appeared to nix the idea and opted to continue reporting without the flak jacket.

Across town, several dozen reporters held at the Rixos hotel reportedly had been told that the building was surrounded by soldiers. They have not been allowed to leave in recent days, held by Kadafi supporters inside even as food stores ran low and electricity became sporadicic.

Matthew Chance, reporting for CNN from the hotel, had been posting moment-to-moment updates on Twitter:

Four hours ago:
In #Rixos huddled in basement of hotel. Incoming artillery fire in area around #Gadhafi compound.

Three hours ago:

Sniper took pot-shot at hotel & we all took cover. Journalists in #Rixos are fine, keeping together but have limited perspective on news.

Three hours ago:

Boiled up a pot of water & made some hot sweet tea to lift everybody's spirits. #Rixos #Libya
Three hours ago:
Went back to room earlier & the door had been kicked in, things rifled through. Nothing stolen.
One hour ago:
All's well for the moment. Still bunkered down. More later. #Rixos4 #Libya #Rixos
Minutes ago, Chance reported hearing gunfire inside the hotel's perimeter.
"There is fighting in the hotel now. There are gunmen still loyal to Kadafi in the hotel," he said. "We've all got our body armor on and we donl't know what to expect. We're stuck here and we're not able to get out."

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: A foreign journalist walks inside the coffee station of the Rixos hotel in Tripoli Monday. Dozens of journalists have been unable to leave.  Credit: Dario Lopez-Mills / Associated Press.

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