Beneath the grassy courtyard of Muammar Gaddafi’s private compound, long tunnels connect bunkers, command centers and spiral staircases that lead to a luxurious home filled with Gaddafi family photos.
The electric lights are out and the banks of telephones have gone dead. When rebels took over the compound on Tuesday, they discovered what had long been rumored: An elaborate secret underground network.
Outsiders had never seen the tunnels beneath the Bab al-Aziziya compound. Many Libyans assume that underground connect all of Tripoli which they say explains Gaddafi’s ability to appear for speeches in places where no one saw him arrive.
Some guess he fled the city through one of the tunnels, though because of damage from NATO bombing, it was not possible to determine if the tunnels actually extend outside of Bab al-Aziziya.