The Italian foreign minister said today that Moammar Qadhafi may have fled Tripoli but is likely still in Libya.

Franco Frattini said “international pressure has likely provoked the decision by Qadhafi to seek refuge in a safe place.” The comments came during a TV interview with Corriere della Sera that was posted on the newspaper’s website.

“I lean toward the solution of an escape from Tripoli, not an escape from Libya,” Frattini said. “Libya is a big country, with desert areas.”

Mr. Qadhafi is expected to be among three Libyan officials targeted by arrest warrants to be issued Monday by the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Qadhafi’s compound has been a frequent site of NATO-led airstrikes, including an attack on April 30 where he is believed to have been inside but have escaped unharmed.

Seeking to quell speculation he might have been killed, Libyan state TV this week showed Mr. Qadhafi meeting tribal leaders, apparently in a Tripoli hotel on Wednesday.

Mr. Frattini said he had “many doubts that that footage had been made that day and especially in Tripoli.”

Keywords: LIbya crisisQadhafi

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