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Exclusive: Libyan woman guided NATO bombs to Gaddafi targets

(Reuters) - The NATO bombing attack which fatally attenuated Muammar Gaddafi's aphorism had a abstruse asset: a 24-year-old Libyan woman who spent months spying on aggressive accessories and casual on the capacity to the alliance.
The woman, operating beneath the codename Nomidia, acclimated busy methods to balk abduction -- consistently alteration her location, application assorted adaptable blast SIM cards and ambuscade her activities from all but the abutting associates of her family.
Her better aegis adjoin arrest by Gaddafi's aegis armament admitting was her gender: as a adolescent woman in Libya's bourgeois Muslim society, they did not doubtable her.
"I was not on the radar," the woman, an engineer, told Reuters in an annual in the antechamber of a Tripoli hotel, two weeks on from a apostasy that bankrupt Gaddafi's ascendancy over the Libyan basic afterwards 42 years in power.
"They were apperception added on the guys and it was about absurd to anticipate that a babe was accomplishing all of this."
Nomidia batten to Reuters on action that her absolute character not be revealed: she said that while Tripoli was now beneath ascendancy of a fresh acting government, there was still a "fifth column" of Gaddafi loyalists who ability ambition her or her family.
The annual she gave of her activities was corroborated by two added bodies who were allotment of an underground anti-Gaddafi arrangement and helped her accelerate capacity about his aegis forces.
"(She was) a actual important source, and actual trusted," said Osama Layas, a argumentative pathologist who was a affiliate of the network.
In Tripoli now, awkward caricatures of Gaddafi dressed as a woman are pasted on checkpoints. The billboards address his angel accept been defaced or ripped down.
When Nomidia began her clandestine role bristles months ago, Gaddafi and his aegis armament had a abutting anchor on the burghal and aside any advice which could be advantageous to his opponents.
Telephone curve were monitored, adaptable buzz argument messaging was blocked, and the internet was accessible alone to government offices and a accumulation of adopted journalists who were kept beneath bouncer in a best hotel.
The city's prisons were abounding of bodies doubtable of acceptable anti-Gaddafi rebels or alike aloof of casual advice to addition alfresco Libya.
A tall, attenuate woman with a blooming chiffon bandage draped over her head, Nomidia said she acquainted accountable to act afterwards the barbarous way in which Gaddafi's armament put bottomward the aboriginal stirrings of defection in cities about the country.
"I could not advice it back I saw what Gaddafi did in Benghazi first, in Misrata, in Zawiyah, in Tripoli, the Western Mountains," she said.
She began by calling Libya al-Ahrar, an anti-Gaddafi television base based in Doha, Qatar. With little absolute advice aperture out of Tripoli, producers at the base put her articulation on air -- beneath the name Nomidia -- with accounts of what was accident in the city.
Soon she was dialling in with capacity of aggressive armament which the access basic to accumulate off the air to abstain alerting Gaddafi's government.
Instead they began casual on the advice to NATO, via admiral with the insubordinate government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), said Lina, at the time a ambassador at the base who was Nomidia's arch point of contact.
The advice Nomidia supplied was "basically, area they were autumn their arms, their tanks," said Lina, who asked to be articular alone by her aboriginal name.
"She did an amazing job," Lina told Reuters by telephone. "That was appealing brave. I apperceive a lot of guys who wouldn't do it in Tripoli at the time. So I'm actual appreciative of her."
With the blast arrangement beneath surveillance, the best alarming allotment of Nomidia's activities was casual on advice about the targets.
"I was application abounding adaptable phones. I acclimated 12 SIM cards and seven altered adaptable phones," she said.
At one point, a agent and affiliate of the anti-Gaddafi arrangement gave her a accessory buzz to use, admitting this in itself was chancy because the government had banned their use.
She additionally afflicted area frequently. "One day I alleged from Tajoura, one day from Souk al-Jumaa. Altered places," she said, active off neighborhoods in Tripoli.
NATO reconnoitered targets for its strikes application satellites and unmanned drones. But there were banned to this approach. In some cases, Gaddafi's armament set up buried bases central noncombatant buildings. Also, the accord could not be abiding there were not civilians at the targets.
That was area Nomidia, and others like her, came in.
"We accept at atomic 16 guys animate for us accomplishing this. There was a woman who was giving us information," said Hisham Buhagiar, a chief NTC aggressive official.
"This was a big operation with abounding baby pieces. You could apparently not accept done it afterwards any of them," he said.
A NATO agent said he could not acknowledge capacity about who had anesthetized on advice about targets in Tripoli and how, but he said they played a admired role.
"Certainly any mission like this area we are aggravating to locate and strike, with define accuracy, weapons...we await heavily on intelligence and surveillance," the agent said. "It is appealing bright that we acclimated these sources of advice well."
In her annual with Reuters, Nomidia alleged three sites she said had been hit by NATO afterwards she had provided information.
They were a armpit in the Salaheddin commune of Tripoli, aforetime acclimated by a Turkish company, area pro-Gaddafi militias were autumn weapons; the April 7 aggressive affected in the Bawabit Al-Jibs neighborhood; and an intelligence account architecture in the Sidi El-Masri district.
"The advice about these sites was advancing from awful ranked army admiral who were not with the regime. They were acknowledging the revolution. My ancestor additionally is a retired officer, so he was allied with accompany and alike ancestors (who were in the military)," she said.
"The Gaddafi administering was application noncombatant sites to abundance weapons ... I was active my car, by myself, and went anon to the armpit and monitored the site, celebratory the site, for maybe hours, to accomplish abiding it should be struck," said Nomidia.
An adventure in backward August accent how acutely Nomidia and her sources had penetrated Gaddafi's administration.
As rebels fought their way into the capital, the NTC said Saif al-Islam, one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons, had been captured. That was apparent to be amiss hours after back Saif al-Islam appeared at the auberge apartment the adopted media.
Nomidia already knew the letters were apocryphal because, she said, she had a antecedent central the operations allowance in Bab Al-Aziziyah, the admixture in Tripoli from area Gaddafi's aegis casework were directed.
"She alleged me ... and she was like 'Lina, Saif is still alive, they did not abduction him'," said the TV ambassador who was Nomidia's capital contact.
"She got the advice from central Bab al-Aziziyah. She had a acquaintance there. And it angry out to be true. Afterwards bisected an hour, Saif was on CNN."
Two months earlier, she had appear abutting to actuality caught. She begin out from her contacts that Gaddafi's aegis armament had tracked one of the SIM cards she was using, and knew her absolute aboriginal name, admitting not her ancestors name.
"So I angry off all my mobiles and I kept moving, as able-bodied as the accomplished family, from abode to house, aloof to be safe," she said. "That was the best difficult situation."
Now that Gaddafi's anchor on Libya is broken, Nomidia -- acquired from Numidia, the name of an age-old North African commonwealth -- is bashful about her role.
She declared her addition to abrasive Gaddafi's aphorism in a apathetic way and had to be prompted to reflect on what had been at stake.
"I was assured I ability be arrested at any moment. That was on my apperception all the time," she said.
But she added: "I wasn't afraid at all ... I was actual optimistic that I would succeed. That everybody would succeed. I acknowledge Allah that I'm animate to see the aftereffect of the job that I did and others did."

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