Britons freed from Tripoli hotel

Britons freed from Tripoli hotel. British journalists and other foreign nationals have been freed from a Tripoli hotel where they were being held captive by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

Gunmen who had been guarding the 35-strong group at the Rixos hotel reportedly surrendered their weapons and left. No one is thought to have been hurt. 
The hotel was the scene of Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam's surprise reappearance earlier this week and has remained in the hands of those loyal to the dictator, even as large parts of the capital fell to rebel advances.

The Rixos is the hotel where the Gaddafi government obliged foreign journalists to stay when reporting on the conflict.

BBC correspondent Matthew Price said the group - including a US congressman and Indian parliamentarian - had been held in around 200ft sq.

The situation deteriorated overnight when it became clear they could not leave of their own free will. Power cuts also meant they had not been able to watch on television as Gaddafi's compound was stormed.

Price said two gunmen had kept them from leaving the building despite the developments in the city.

"They said they had been ordered by Colonel Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam to keep us inside, to keep us safe," he said.

Price said they feared they could be used as human shields if the regime's forces decided to use the luxury hotel as the site for a last stand.

There were also concerns that they could be subject to revenge attacks because their countries had taken part in the military action against Gaddafi.

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