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Rebels promise to “strangle Gaddafi’s troops” by nightfall

Reports in Tripoli say some districts are being taken into rebel hands, as they ready themselves for eventual victory.

People in Benghazi celebrate news of uprisings in Tripoli against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
People in Benghazi celebrate news of uprisings in Tripoli against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
Image: Alexandre Meneghini/AP

LIBYA’S ANTI-GADDAFI REBELS have taken control of a number of neighbourhoods in the country’s capital of Tripoli, and have said they will “strangle” Gaddafi’s forces in the coming hours.

Al Jazeera reporters in the city say that NATO-backed forces opposing the Gaddafi regime have taken command of the neighbourhoods of Tajoraa, Suq al-Jumaa, Arada and al-Sabaa.

They added that clashes between rebels and loyalists were continuing in Ben Ashhour, Fashlom, and Zawiyat al-Dahmani, and that the rebels had seized the headquarters of a mobile phone operator, which was now sending messages to the public urging them to take part in the rebellion.

There are also reports that the rebels have taken control of a barracks at one major entrance to the city.

Al Arabiya’s television broadcasts carried quotes from the head of the National Transitional Council, the political wing of the rebel movement, who said that rebels would “strangle Gaddafi’s troops tonight”.

The Gaddafi regime has insisted that it remains in power, with Al Arabiya quoting a telephoned audio address in which he said the rebel “rats” needed to be purged from the country.

We have to put an end to this masquerade. You must march by the millions to free the destroyed towns… These scums enter mosques to cry ‘God is great.’ They are dirty. They are defiling the mosques.

His son Saif al-Islam, who controls much of the country’s media, added that his father’s regime did not now how to raise the “white flag”.

NATO aircraft have been assisting in the assault on the capital, with Bloomberg reporting that NATO jets had bombed military storage facilities and radar installations. Around 100 rebel fighters have been killed during clashes in Tripoli.

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