Rebels stream into Libya's capital, capturing Qaddafi's sons
Libyan rebels claims to have the entire capital city of Tripoli under their control, except for Qaddafi's compound.
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Al Jazeera television aired images of people celebrating in central Tripoli and tearing down posters of Qaddafi, which had dominated Libyan cities for decades.Skip to next paragraph
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In Benghazi in the east, thousands gathered in a city-centre square waving red, black and green opposition flag as news filtered through of rebel advances into Tripoli.
"It's over!" shouted one man as he dashed out of a building, a mobile telephone clutched to his ear. Celebratory gunfire and explosions rang out over the city and cars blaring their horns crowded onto the streets. Overhead, red tracer bullets darted into a black sky.
"It does look like it is coming to an end," said Anthony Skinner, Middle East analyst, Maplecroft. "But there are still plenty of questions. The most important is exactly what Gaddafi does now. Does he flee or can he fight?"
"In the slightly longer term, what happens next? We know there have been some serious divisions between the rebel movement and we don't know yet if they will be able to form a cohesive front to run the country."
Qaddafi, in his second audio broadcast in 24 hours, dismissed the rebels as rats.
"I am giving the order to open the weapons stockpiles," Qaddafi said. "I call on all Libyans to join this fight. Those who are afraid, give your weapons to your mothers or sisters.
"Go out, I am with you until the end. I am in Tripoli. We will ... win."
A Libyan government official told Reuters that 376 people on both sides of the conflict were killed in fighting overnight on Saturday in Tripoli, with about 1,000 others wounded.
A diplomatic source in Paris, where the government has closely backed the rebels, said underground rebel cells in the capital had been following detailed plans drawn up months ago and had been waiting for a signal to act.
That signal was "iftar" -- the moment when Muslims observing the holy months of Ramadan break their daily fast. It was at this moment that imams started broadcasting their message from the mosques, residents said.
(Additional reporting by Missy Ryan in Tripoli, Robert Birsel in Benghazi, Libya, William Maclean in London, Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers; Writing by Christian Lowe and Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Andrew Roche)