Abdel Jalil landed at an Air Force base on the outskirts of Tripoli on Saturday and was greeted by a boisterous red carpet ceremony meant to show he’s taking charge of the interim government replacing the ousted regime of fugitive dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the Associated Press reported.
Hundreds of revolutionary fighters and NTC officials rushed toward the plane as he walked down the steps. Some flashed victory signs or shouted “God is great.” The crowd swarmed around Abdel Jalil as he tried to make his way to the Air Force building.
Ahmed Darrad, the NTC’s interior minister, took the warm welcome given to Abdel Jalil in stride.
“We expected that he would get a popular reception, but we didn’t expect it to be quite to this extent,” he said.
Libya’s revolutionary forces advanced into the heart of Tripoli on August 21, seizing control of much of the capital without facing significant resistance from regime forces.
But the security situation remains shaky in Tripoli since the capital has been flooded with weapons, including those in the hands of ordinary people.
Anti-Gaddafi forces control much of Libya, but the strategically important Libyan town of Bani Walid, located 170 kilometers (105 miles) southeast of Tripoli, Jufrah, Sabha, and the fugitive dictator’s birthplace Sirt are still controlled by Gaddafi supporters.
Fierce clashes broke out between revolutionary fighters and forces loyal to Gaddafi around Bani Walid on Saturday.
The fighting began after negotiations on a peaceful takeover of the pro-Gaddafi stronghold broke down on Thursday.
Revolutionaries had set a Saturday deadline for Gaddafi loyalists holed up in Bani Walid to surrender or face an offensive.