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4012Libyan Rebels Say They Captured Gadhafi's Son in Tripoli

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  • Greg Cannon
    Aug 21, 2011
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      http://abcnews.go.com/International/libyan-rebels-captured-gadhafis-son-tripoli/story?id=14349513

      Libyan Rebels Say They Captured Gadhafi's Son in Tripoli

      PHOTO: Gadhafi's Last Stand?: Libyan Rebels Close In on Capital City of Tripoli

      By OLIVIA KATRANDJIAN and JEFFREY KOFMAN (@JeffreyKofman)
      Aug. 21, 2011

      Rebel forces have captured Seif al Islam Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, in Tripoli and are surrounding the Gadhafi compound, Bab al Aziziya, a representative of the rebel government told ABC News.

      Mohamad al Akari, a Transitional National Council advisor, said that if Moammar Gadhafi is still in Tripoli, they believe he is in Bab al Aziziya.

      "Tonight it's over," Akari said.

      Libyan rebel forces are now in Green Square in the heart of Tripoli, according to multiple reports.

      Earlier today, rebel forces pushed into the western outskirts of the Libyan capital without meeting any resistance. The rebels reached Janzour, a Tripoli suburb, around nightfall today and were greeted by civilians waving rebel flags.

      In a brief gunbattle only hours earlier, the same rebel force of hundreds drove elite forces, led by another of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, out of a major military base that defends Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold of Tripoli. The rebels captured truckloads of weapons and advanced toward Tripoli, according to The Associated Press.

      Gunfire and explosions have been heard throughout the night inside the capital, where fighting is flaring up between Gadhafi forces and what the opposition called "sleeper cells" of rebels.

      This morning there was a threatened assault on the Rixos Hotel, where many foreign journalists are staying. The entire staff, including the manager, fled, leaving about 20 journalists stranded. The building is surrounded by constant machine gun fire and smoke is coming from the buildings around them.

      The rebels are hitting Tripoli from three fronts and were being helped overnight by NATO war planes enforcing a UN resolution to protect civilians.

      In a press conference, Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said, "the death toll [in Tripoli] is beyond imagination."

      Ibrahim said the rebels were acting under the cover of NATO, which has the blood of innocent Libyans on its hands.

      "NATO kills anything that moves," he said, blaming NATO for the "true tragic event taking place in Tripoli."

      Ibrahim singled out the leaders of the United States, Britain and France as he spoke to foreign press in Tripoli earlier today.

      "We hold Mr. Obama , Mr. Cameron and Mr. Sarkozy morally responsible for every single unnecessary death that takes place in this country," Ibrahim said.

      He also insisted that Tripoli is well defended from the rebels.

      "Tripoli is well protected and we have thousands upon thousands of professional soldiers who are ready to defend this city," Ibrahim said.

      He warned that the fighting would continue if there is no ceasefire.

      "We are going to fight on unless everybody agrees on a ceasefire because as a dignified nation we have our freedom, we have our honor and we know that people even scared in their houses at this very moment, they do not want us to give up," Ibrahim said.

      Rebel Forces Capture Coastal City of Zawiya

      This follows two significant victories this weekend as rebels took control of cities just to the east and west of Tripoli.

      On Saturday, opposition fighters captured the strategic coastal city of Zawiya on their march toward Tripoli.

      Fighting had been going on for more than a week on the main streets of Zawiya, with Gadhafi snipers positioned on top of Zawiya's hospital, a bank and a hotel overlooking the main square.

      But Gadhafi forces fled the city, and rebel forces poured into the city's main square Saturday, the AP reported.

      ABC News' Linda Albin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.