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Rebels stream into Tripoli

world Updated: Aug 23, 2011 01:35 IST
Muammar Gaddafi

Fighting raged near the compound of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and flared sporadically across Tripoli on Monday, a day after rebels overran the symbolic heart of the capital.

Rebels packed in trucks, cars and pickups streamed during the day from liberated areas of western Libya towards Green Square, brandishing arms and honking horns.

Many of the rebels were waving the flag of the revolution, as they appeared to be heading to the square to reinforce fighters there who had come under sniper attack by Gaddafi loyalists.

On the political front, the chief of the Libyan rebels' council said that his ad hoc government was preparing to move to Tripoli.

"The heroic rebels have controlled almost all of Tripoli. Preparatory measures are being taken for the national council to move to Tripoli. Trips are already being prepared," Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council told Al-Arabiya news channel from Benghazi.

"There remain some pockets [of resistance] that are delaying this move. But God willing, we will eliminate them within 48 hours," he said.

The rebel chief said it was difficult to tell whether Gaddafi has fled the country, pointing out that he could still be at his Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli. "The area around al-Azizya is still a hot spot. There are forces that continue to fight the rebels," he said.

Opposition leaders had earlier warned that pockets of resistance remained despite most of Gaddafi's defenders vanishing during the rebels' lightning charge through Tripoli.

The NTC's top diplomat in London said the rebels now controlled 95% of Tripoli and pledged that they would "turn over every stone to find" Gaddafi.