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Rebels Gain Access to Al Qathafi's Headquarters at Bab al-Azziziyah
23/08/2011 18:35:00
Rebels seen inside Al Qathafi's Bab al-Azzizyah compound and the leader's stronghold

The rebel forces battling to oust Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi from power, have managed to penetrate the leader's fortified compound in Bab al-Azzizyah in the capital, Tripoli early this evening and hoisted the three-coloured Independence flag on his home and headquarters. They managed it after intensive fighting against loyalist regime forces.

Libyan rebels managed to enter the regime's compound late afternoon after breaking through the first gates. From then on, they cointinued their march to capture the whole 6km square complex

The alliance has said it is the "final chapter" for the Al Qathafi regime and the "end is near".

Other fighters had waited outside the walls concentrating their firepower, on the building and hoping that NATO air strikes could help bring down the two remaining layers and allow them easier access to the compound, known as the real powerhouse for the regime, that has been frequently targeted by the alliance's warplanes since March, but was not penetrated.

As columns of grey smoke were seen billowing over the compound's area with sounds of gunfire and occasional explosions ringing out, for the second day running, the revolutionaries also kept up their battles across the city, but their sights and ears were directed to the Bab al-Azziziyah compound in the west of the city

For most of the day the al-Mansoura district was the focus of fierce clashes between government forces and opposition fighters, after the rebels marched into the heart of the city on Sunday. The regime's remaining forces were concentrated and holed up in a series of pockets where they still appeared to have some strength, the main one being Al Qathafi's compound.

Inside the first gate, the revolutionaries did their best to destroy the strategic building, targeting first a bronze bust of the Libyan leader, which they decapitated and kicked around.

Al Qathafi's forces are reportedly fighting back using heavy weapons including mortars and shells, but still, the rebels advanced hoping to end it all up by the end of the night. Eventual victory here could prove to be ultimate victory.

The Libyan leader's whereabouts were still unknown, though some rebels were claiming he must be inside the compound. Others were not so sure though they were sure that at least, some son of Al Qathafi was hiding inside, perhaps in one of the underground tunnels.

There have been reports of NATO planes flying very low on top of the compound, though NATO would not confirm they had conducted any bombings

At the same time that all this was taking place, the 30 foreign journalists at the Rixos Hotel, less than two kilometres away, where they have been based throughout the six-month conflict, remained holed up in the hotel and have not allowed to venture out by their minders. Al Qathafi supporters remained in control of the Rixos where foreign correspondents.

The story is still being unfolded, and though many of the rebel fighters, made up of normal people, one would encounter in the street, students, professional people, like engineers, medical people and even a University professor and at least one lawyer were convinced that tonight is the night that will end it all, others, skeptical maybe, were saying the if it's going to end tonight, it is indeed going to be a very long night.

More rebel fighters in eastern Libya advanced towards the oil terminal of Ras Lanuf after taking the coastal town of Ageila from Al Qathafi loyalist forces.

Yet the government spokesperson, Moussa Ibrahim, keeps claiming that the regime's forces had control of at least 75 per cent of Tripoli, with rebels saying that up to Tuesday morning Al Qathafi's men only held about 20 per cent of the city.
Goodness! I only hope for the sake of the citizens of Tripoli that this thing is ended! There is no way that the will of the old leader and his regime can be sustained and they must simply hand over to the will of the new people. The less bloodshed at this late date, the better. Best is, for now, if the Gaddafi and his sons are captured unharmed and put up for just public trial. That would be the first base in a long path towards national reconstruction. Salaam! Peace be with all Libyans!

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