Libya rebels control '95 percent' of Tripoli, but Qaddafi loyalists vow to fight
As Libya rebels assumed control of most of Tripoli, Qaddafi's spokesman said 'thousands and thousands' of fighters were on their way to Tripoli to join the fight.
(Page 2 of 2)
Government tanks made a last stand this morning at the Bab al-Aziziya compound, where Qaddafi, his family, and inner circle had barricaded themselves during the uprising. The tanks opened fire on rebel troops as they attempted to enter the compound, the Associated Press reports. Eyewitnesses said NATO appeared to have demolished the compound, but the precise outcome of the battle remains unclear and Qaddafi's own whereabouts are unknown.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Qaddafi: A look back
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Rebels set up checkpoints and barricades throughout the city to solidify their control, as loyalists fought fiercely to keep their hold on the small pockets that remain in their hands.
Among those pockets is the Rixos, the hotel where the Libyan government has been sequestering all foreign journalists. Al Jazeera reports that Qaddafi loyalists are using the journalists to deter a rebel attack on the hotel.
"Qaddafi sleeper cells" in Tripoli, armed with heavy weapons and including many snipers, are the rebels' biggest remaining challenge, Al Jazeera reports.
The clashes between rebels and those pockets of Qaddafi loyalists sent Tripoli residents back into their homes Monday after spending Sunday night and the early hours of Monday in the streets, celebrating what they saw as Qaddafi's imminent end, Reuters reports. In Green Square, where protesters were killed in the earliest days of the uprising, rebel supporters burned government flags and flew the tricolor flag last used by the monarchy that Qaddafi overthrew in 1969, when his rule began.
Rebel supporters in Tripoli, silent for months, emerged as the rebels took control of their neighborhoods. The Army battalion in charge of guarding entrances to the city surrendered immediately when rebels reached the city gates, AP reports. The commander of the battalion was a covert rebel supporter because Qaddafi's regime killed his brother years ago.
Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte, which is filled with fiercely loyal Libyans, is one of the few cities that remain in the hands of Qaddafi loyalists. But while this appears to be the endgame for Qaddafi, those who know him best expect him to fight to the end.
"I think it's impossible that he'll surrender," said Abdel-Salem Jalloud, a former close aid to Qaddafi who defected to Italy last week.
Still, as rebels negotiate with the ICC to have Saif al-Islam handed over to The Hague and vow to bring his father to justice as well, Libyans are already celebrating their freedom from more than four decades of authoritarian rule.
"It's amazing. It's been six months of hell, but now we feel free," Nez Badrush, a resident of western Tripoli, told the Wall Street Journal. "God bless you, the United States and NATO for helping us."