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Monday, August 22, 2011

Libyan Rebels Take Over Capitol City of Tripoli

Al Jazeera reports:

Euphoric Libyan rebels have moved into the centre of the capital, Tripoli, as Muammar Gaddafi's defenders melted away and thousands of jubilant civilians rushed out of their homes to cheer the long convoys of pickup trucks packed with fighters shooting in the air.

The rebels' surprising and speedy leap forward, after six months of largely deadlocked civil war, was packed into just a few dramatic hours. By nightfall on Sunday, they had advanced more than 32km to Tripoli.

Zeina Khodr, Al Jazeera's correspondent, said from the Green Square: "There's a party in the Libyan capital tonight. The people are in charge of the city. They've decided the square is now called Martyrs' Square, the original name. They're shouting 'We're free' and shooting at a poster of Gaddafi."

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the Tripoli battalion commander for the opposition National Transition Council said, "We want to thank God for this victory, we call on the residents to protect the city, we call on remaining parts of the regime to surrender and join the opposition."

Our correspondent said rebels met little resistance as they moved from the western outskirts into the capital.

"Hundreds are on the street, and most of them are armed. Most of these are fighters who came down from the mountains in western areas of Libya. They entered the capital a few hours ago and with the opposition inside the capital, have managed to liberate the city from the government's control," our correspondent said.

"People are worried about sleeper cells but cleaning up operations are under way to make sure there are no snipers in the buildings nearby. People are confident that the government has fallen and they are in control."

Can we get out now, Mr. President?

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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