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Monday, August 22, 2011

Gadhafi regime appears to be 'crumbling' as rebels advance in Tripoli Chế độ Gadhafi sắp sụp đổ khi Quân nổi dậy tiến vàoTripoli

Gadhafi regime appears to be 'crumbling' as rebels advance in Tripoli
By the CNN Wire Staff
August 22, 2011
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- An amateur league of ill-trained rebel fighters appears to be on the brink of toppling Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule after reportedly capturing two of the leader's sons and infiltrating the Libyan capital.

But in a possible indication that the fight is not over, celebrations in Tripoli's Green Square -- renamed Martyrs' Square by the rebels -- gave way to tension Monday morning after rebels told CNN that they'd heard Gadhafi army forces were heading their way. CNN could not confirm any movement of Gadhafi forces.

The uncertainty came hours after a rebel official said two of Moammar Gadhafi's sons -- Saif al-Islam and Saadi -- had been arrested by opposition forces. Jumma Ibrahim, a rebel spokesman based in Libya's western mountain region, said both were captured in Tripoli.

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court plans Monday to contact authorities associated with those holding Saif al-Islam to try to arrange for his transfer to the Netherlands for an eventual trial for "crimes against humanity." The court, based in The Hague, issued an arrest warrant earlier this summer for Saif Gadhafi as well as his father and his uncle Abdullah al-Sanussi.

Saadi Gadhafi, a businessman and onetime professional soccer player, helped set up an April CNN interview with a woman who claimed she'd been raped by government troops. He later told CNN that those behind the attack should be prosecuted.

There was no immediate reaction from Libyan government officials to the reports of the sons' arrests.

In an audio address broadcast just before midnight Sunday, Moammar Gadhafi claimed "very small groups of people who are collaborators with the imperialists" were fighting inside the capital. Should the rebels prevail, Gadhafi said NATO would not protect them and predicted massive bloodshed. To prevent such bloodshed, he said, Libyans, including women, should go out and fight.

"Get out and lead, lead, lead the people to paradise," he said.

Just after midnight Sunday, scores of raucous rebel supporters packed Green Square -- the same place where Gadhafi loyalists have congregated regularly -- celebrating, waving the rebel flag and even flashing the "victory" sign.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday that "the Gadhafi regime is clearly crumbling," and urged the leader to acknowledge defeat.

"The rebel fighters are in control of most of the neighborhoods in Tripoli," said Ibrahim, the rebel spokesman.

A main supply route into western Tripoli that had been the scene of intense fighting was clear early Monday, occupied only by rebels heading toward the capital.

CNN's Sara Sidner reported around 3 a.m. that the route heading to Green Square was "eerily quiet," with cars passing by checkpoints run by opposition loyalists. Between 100 and 150 rebel fighters by then had gathered in the square, only to scatter an hour later amid concerns about possible snipers and an upcoming battle there, in the heart of the city.

The advance included members of the "Tripoli Brigade," a group of rebel troops who'd once lived in the capital and could help navigate the city. But they weren't all professional soldiers, such as one IT worker who hadn't held a gun before joining the movement a few months ago.

They entered a city that, after being largely free of large-scale fighting since the conflict began six months ago, became the site of intense drama and significant violence over the weekend.

Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim told reporters just after 11 p.m. Sunday that about 1,300 people had been killed and about 5,000 wounded in fighting in the previous 12 hours.

"(The city) is being turned into a hellfire," he said.

The spokesman denied a report from Arab-language news network Al-Arabiya that Gadhafi's guard had surrendered, calling it "false information."

In another sign of possible trouble for the regime, the signal for state-run television -- which has long been a forum for pro-Gadhafi views -- repeatedly froze, with the station later claiming there had been "interference" due to a "hostile media campaign." The network reverted to taped broadcasts of previous pro-Gadhafi gatherings.

A fierce gun battle broke out Sunday evening near the hotel where many international reporters were stationed in Tripoli. Many government officials packed their suitcases and left the hotel earlier in the day.

A woman in Tripoli said late Sunday that she and others went outside, "screaming" and calling for Gadhafi's ouster -- and had plenty of company.

"We realized that no one wants him, no one wants this dictator," said the resident, whom CNN is not naming for safety reasons.

Musa Ibrahim told CNN on Sunday that "more than 65,000 professional men" are fighting in Tripoli, with thousands more flooding in to help defend the regime, and added they "can hold for much longer." He predicted a "humanitarian disaster" unless an immediate ceasefire is called.

"It's not about who will win," he said. "The world needs to hear this message, that a massacre will be committed in Tripoli if one side wins now."

Some areas of eastern Tripoli, including the suburb of Tajoura, were out of government control Sunday, according to a Libyan government official who asked not to be named. Rebels set car tires afire along barricades there, the official said.

Meanwhile, Zawiya -- a key coastal city about 30 miles west of the capital -- appeared under rebel control, with celebratory gunfire and fireworks as some yelled out, "Libya is free!"

Aref Ali Nayed, an ambassador in the United Arab Emirates for the Libyan rebels' Transitional National Council, said that opposition forces were calling Sunday "Day 1."

"The reason we declare it 'Day 1' is because we feel Gadhafi is already finished. He is already finished, most importantly, in our hearts," he said. "We no longer fear him."

Ibrahim, the government spokesman, blamed NATO for the conflict and appealed for a cease-fire.

"Every drop of Libyan blood shed by these rebels is the responsibility of the Western world, especially NATO's countries," he said. "We hold (U.S. President Barack) Obama, (British Prime Minister David) Cameron and (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy morally responsible for every single unnecessary death that takes place in this country."

Several U.S. officials -- including President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- were getting updates on the situation, officials said.

"Tonight, the momentum against the Gadhafi regime has reached a tipping point," Obama said in a statement, claiming "Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. ... The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end."

In the rebel hub of Benghazi, meanwhile, CNN iReporter Sammi Addahoumi showed video of large, boisterous crowds in the city's Freedom Square reacting as reports of the developments played on a large screen.

"The spirits are quite high," said Addahoumi, a 28-year-old deli manager from South Carolina who said his father fled Benghazi decades ago. "Everyone is expecting Tripoli to fall."

In the first of his speeches on state television Sunday, though, Gadhafi was still insisting the rebels -- whom he described as "infidels," "traitors" and "gangsters" -- would fail and vowed not to back down.

"This is the hour of victory," he said. "This hour is the hour of defiance."

Rebels are claiming they are in control of most of the Libyan capital Tripoli, although state TV is still airing pro-Gaddafi programmes. Heavy fighting has been reported near the Libyan leader's residence. Earlier three of his sons were said to have been arrested. Following a night of chaos in the capital, crowds were seen in the city's central square with people waving revolutionary flags. Dr. Franklin Lamb - the director of Americans for Middle East Peace who was shot by sniper on Sunday- says Gaddafi may be preparing a massive counter-attack.

Tripoli refuses to negotiate over Colonel Gaddafi stepping down. The news was revealed by Libya's foreign minister during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow. RT's Katerina Azarova reports.

Moussa Ibrahim speaks of 1300 people killed from 12.00 noon until 23.00 on August 21 with 5000 wounded. He expressed his fear that many families who are well-known people supporting Gaddafi are afraid that they will be killed by the Rebels to settle scores. They either need to fight or get killed.

He mentioned the killing of a civilian who was simply walking on the street. He was killed because he was a supporter of the Jamahiriya.

NATO has killed quite a lot of these 1300 people by bombing checkpoints and everything else that they have relentlessly bombed today.

He asks NATO to order their Rebels to return in order to prevent a massacre taking place in Tripoli. NATO is held responsible for this blood bath. They made sure the Rebels could enter Tripoli and settle the scores.

Let's just hope it will not turn out as terrible as Moussa Ibrahim predicts, but his account seems logical. Both parties are filled with fear and hatred towards each other.

There have been further explosions in Libya's capital, Tripoli, hours after Col Muammar Gaddafi said attackers had been "eliminated" and as rebels advance on three fronts on their key target.

Reports tell of four loud explosions in Tripoli on Sunday morning.

Earlier Col Gaddafi spoke on state TV, where his son Saif al-Islam appeared, vowing to "resist... and win".

On Saturday rebels took Zlitan, 160km (100 miles) east of Tripoli, and Zawiya 30km to the west.

A rebel official said the uprising had begun in Tripoli, but the violence appeared to peak late on Saturday night and there is still much support for Colonel Gaddafi in the city, correspondents say.

Pro-Gaddafi forces have been fighting back at the oil port of Brega, with the rebels admitting that they had fallen back from the eastern town's industrial zone under heavy bombardment.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libyan rebels launched an assault early Sunday on the capital of Tripoli amid unconfirmed reports that leader Moammar Gadhafi had fled, NBC News reported.

"Zero hour has begun," a rebel commander told NBC News.

However, a government spokesman said Gadhafi remained in control and the leader in a live interview on state television called the rebels "rats" who need to be destroyed

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libyan rebels waved opposition flags and shot into the air in jubilation after reaching Tripoli's central Green Square, Sky news live footage from the scene showed in the early hours of Monday.

The vast square, reserved until now for carefully orchestrated rallies praising Moammar Gadhafi, erupted in celebration after rebel troops pushed into the center of the Libyan capital overnight.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports heavy fighting and shelling in parts of Tripoli.

Khodr reports:

"What we're hearing is heavy shelling in the Bab Al-Aziziyah area, and we're seeing dozens of fighters moving in that direction. There are pockets of resistence in Tripoli, and Bab Al-Aziziyah is one of them.

"The people of Tripoli really are maintaining law and order in the areas that they are now controlling. They have set up checkpoints, are searching cars and looking for possible Gaddafi supporters. Because, ever since late last night they have been worried about sleeper cells in the capital.

"There are also international journalists trapped inside the Rixos hotel, which is in the area known as al-Nasr Khor. They are not able to leave the hotel because there are Gaddafi men in the building and around the area. They have been trapped there even before the rebels advanced into the city."

Foreign journalists who have been obliged to stay in a hotel in Tripoli during the conflict are now trapped in the building as practically all the staff and security personnel have run for their lives.­

Journalist Mahdi Nazemroaya from the Center for Research on Globalisation is in Tripoli and has crossed live to RT, saying the situation is critical and the next several hours will be decisive.

According to journalist, the rebel Transitional Council have ordered snipers to control the area around the hotel where foreign journalist are staying to ensure that no chaotic scenes develop in the vicinity. There is an electrified mob outside chanting clearly audible victory slogans and shooting in the air and the situation is increasingly tense.

"There is no security, the only security is journalists securing the perimeter [of the hotel] by themselves," Mahdi Nazemroaya said, adding that the rebels have been checking the documentation of guests at the hotel, which has been abandoned by staff, and have discovered that some of the journalists using the hotel are not journalists at all.

Mahdi Nazemroaya says "Yugoslavian" tactics have been used, with NATO bombing out military and civil infrastructure to clear the way for the rebels.

"NATO did all the work here with the bombing and their leaders must be held accountable as war criminals for killing civilians," he said, questioning why NATO is engaged in toppling Muammar Gaddfi while regimes in Qatar and Bahrain have been suppressing democracy and killing their own people without being held accountable.

Looters are already ripping off computers and screen projection units from the first floor of the hotel, going through rooms and grabbing whatever they can.

The journalists in the deserted hotel are panicky, hanging signs saying "TV" and "PRESS" wherever they can, including on themselves.

Journalists are hoping against hope that they will be evacuated from the hotel by international contingents from the UN, not NATO. Nazemroaya says crowds have gathered outside the hotel with the express aim of sowing panic and intimidating the press.

Libyan rebels claim they control most of Tripoli.

Two of Gaddafi's sons have been arrested with some reports suggesting the leader himself is in a specialist cardiac unit in a town 14 kilometres east of the capital. .

Following a night of chaos in the capital, crowds have gathered in the city's central square waving revolutionary flags.

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