Libyan rebels taking over Tripoli

The Fall of Tripoli

From Kareem Fahim, the New York Times:  Libyan rebels marched into parts of Tripoli on Sunday evening, pushing past the city’s outer defense lines and setting off celebrations in some western neighborhoods of the capital, the final stronghold of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Rebel troops approaching from the west raced through Colonel Qaddafi’s “ring of steel” defense that had been positioned outside Tripoli on the road to Zawiyah, a strategic oil city now in rebel hands. Rebels driving pickup trucks mounted with machine guns met little resistance as they reached Janzour and Gargarish, Tripoli neighborhoods where Qaddafi forces appeared to melt away, rebel leaders and residents said.

Insurgents also captured a military base of the vaunted Khamis Brigade where they had expected to meet fierce resistance, seizing a cache of armaments.

Inside Tripoli, protesters took to the streets and rebels clashed with Qaddafi loyalists in some parts of the city, opposition leaders and refugees from the city said. Fighting had been heavy earlier in the day Sunday, but by nightfall Colonel Qaddafi’s forces had allowed some districts of the capital to fall without a major battle.

A rebel spokesman said insurgents had opened a new line of attack on Tripoli by sending boats from the port city of Misrata to link up with fighters in the capital. It was not clear how many fighters were involved in that operation. . . .

“We are coordinating the attacks inside, and our forces from outside are ready to enter Tripoli,” said Anwar Fekini, a rebel leader from the mountainous region in western Libya, speaking by telephone from Tunis. “If you can call any mobile number in Tripoli, you will hear in the background the beautiful sound of the bullets of freedom.”

From the Guardian:  Al Arabiya TV reports that Gaddafi’s presidential guard has surrendered to the rebels, citing the rebels’ National Transitional Council.  (photo: Getty)

Image: getty%206%2017%2011%20Fall%20of%20Tripoli.jpg