Compound under siege but regime resisting to bitter end
Published 23/08/2011 | 05:00
EMBOLDENED rebels laid siege to Gaddafi's compound in central Tripoli last night.
Opposition leaders warned that victory could only be assured when the dictator was in rebel hands, but their swift advance into Tripoli and the capture of three of Gaddafi's sons was enough to spark euphoric celebrations early yesterday.
But the jubilation subsided somewhat as Gaddafi forces launched an assault yesterday afternoon. Remnants of regime's troops drove out the rebel fighters during running battles in the capital.
The harbour, as well as Green Square, saw prolonged clashes. The electricity sub-station for the area was damaged after being targeted by regime mortar fire.
As the fighting intensified last night, Nato's Apache helicopter gunships were forced into action once more.
"There are obviously pockets of Gaddafi men whom we had not been aware of," said Yusuf Bin Daroush, a rebel commander. "They are using mortars and machine guns and causing civilian casualties."
There were prolonged clashes at Bab al-Aziziya, Gaddafi's complex, amid speculation that he was still there. One rebel fighter, Mohammed Kamlish, said: "He is trying to cause as much damage as possible before the end. He is a man who can only destroy."
Such fighting tempered claims that rebels now hold up to 90pc of Tripoli.
world leaders joined the rebel chorus calling on Gaddafi to go, with US President Barack Obama saying the dictator and his regime "need to recognise that their rule has come to an end". (© Independent News Service)