The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 22, 2011

Update: Obama says Gadhafi rule is over

(Continued)

TRIPOLI, Libya —

Clashes broke out early Monday at Gadhafi's longtime command center known as Bab al-Aziziya early Monday when government tanks emerged from the complex and opened fire at rebels trying to get in, according to Abdel-Rahman and a neighbor. An AP reporter at the nearby Rixos Hotel where foreign journalists stay could hear gunfire and loud explosions from the direction of the complex.

Tripoli resident Moammar al-Warfali, whose family home is next to the compound, said there appeared to be only a few tanks belonging to the remaining Gadhafi forces that have not fled or surrendered.

"When I climb the stairs and look at it from the roof, I see nothing at Bab al-Aziziya," he said. "NATO has demolished it all and nothing remains."

The Rixos also remained under the control of Gadhafi forces, with two trucks loaded with anti-aircraft machine guns and pro-regime fighters and snipers posted behind trees. Rebels and Tripoli residents set up checkpoints elsewhere in the city.

A rebel field commander said reinforcements were arriving at Tripoli by sea from the north as well as the south and the southeast.

"Our fighters are coming from all directions and, God willing, today we will liberate the whole city," the commander, Suleiman Sifaw, told The Associated Press.

State TV broadcast bitter audio pleas by Gadhafi for Libyans to defend his regime as the rebels advanced on Sunday. Opposition fighters captured his son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, who along with his father faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. Another son was under house arrest.

Rebel chief Mustafa Abdel-Jalil vowed Monday to give Gadhafi a "fair trial with all legal guarantees" when captured.

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