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Tuesday, 22 May, 2012, 10:35 ( 8:35 GMT )
End is Very Near for Al Qathafi Regime as Rebels Strengthen Presence in Tripoli
21/08/2011 12:19:00
Thousands of Libyans in the eastern city stronghold of the rebels in Benghazi, celebrate the recent gains at Freedom Square, sensing that the end for the regime is close

With operation “Dawn of the Sea Pride”, the freeing of Tripoli and therefore the whole of Libya from the Al Qathafi regime ongoing and on the way to succeeding, the beleaguered Libyan leader, pressed as he is from all sides, has urged his supporters, half-heartedly, many believe, to "march by the millions" and to quash the six months-long uprising that has turned full circle in favour of the rebels.

Strong explosions rocked Tripoli amid fighting between rebels and regime supporters early Sunday morning, with blasts from NATO air strikes heard in the heart of the Libyan capital as early as 4.00 a.m. (CET). Warplanes flew overhead, targeting once again Al Qathafi's residential compound at Ban Al-Azziziyah and other, at the time, identifiable sites.

There was sustained gunfire in the city and clashes in several quarters have been reported between insurgents and Al Qathafi forces, among them some of his supporters whom he armed to try and help him to hold on to power, which he has done for almost 42 years.

Al Qathafi's appeal came as rebels closed in on Tripoli, claiming that the leader's regime was on its last legs.

Al Qathafi's choice of words was anything but dignified as he tried to push his supporters to help him out of his misery. He said: "We have to put an end to this masquerade. You must march by the millions to free the destroyed towns" controlled by rebels he labeled as "traitors" and "rats."

In his umpteenth audio message carried on state television, without giving a clue where he was calling from, he went on to say: "These scum enter mosques to cry 'God is great.' They are dirty. They are defiling the mosques."

Most Libyans keep on asking why, if he is so brave, does the Libyan leader not get out of his hole to face the insurgents. If he has a battle to fight, he should do it himself, by example and get into the front to lead his remaining forces. Analysts believe that Al Qathafi's actions are cowardly. They keep on asking: “How could he pretend the people of Libya, ever so peaceful fight his own wars?

Earlier, cries of "Allahu Akbar" could be heard from mosques in the city's eastern sectors.

Al Qathafi also accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country has been in the forefront to lead NATO-coordinated air strikes on the his military assets, of recruiting the rebels as "agents" to steal Libya's vast oil wealth.

Referring to the French President he said that to win the upcoming elections, he wants to be able to say to his people: 'Here, I'm offering you Libyan oil' and this is going to be achieved with the help of traitors. But the Libyan people will not allow France to take its oil or leave Libya to the hands of traitors, he said.

As blasts and gunfire rocked Tripoli after the break of the dawn-to-dusk fast of Ramadan fighting ensued in the eastern neighbourhoods of Souk JJomaa, Arada and Tajura.

Through its spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, who was recently appointed information secretary, the government insisted it was in charge of the city. He said the situation was under control, adding that pro-regime volunteers had repelled insurgent attacks in several neighbourhoods. He dismissed mounting speculation that the regime was on the brink as a "media attack."

However, Al Qathafi's speech appears to have done little to assure his supporters that he would still be there, at the helm in a few days from now. It was left to Moussa Ibrahim to try and rally the Al Qathafi supporters as he was driven around streets in Tripoli trying to urge people to make a stand. On the other hand, the rebels gave little notice of the Libyan leader's threats.

Meanwhile, as celebrations broke out in the early morning hours and residents of Benghazi feted at Freedom Sqaure what they understand to be the imminent collapse of the Al Qathafi regime after the important recent gains and also entry into Tripoli, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who heads the rebels' National Transitional Council, claimed that victory was within reach.

Speaking to reporters as a flurry of rumours suggested that Al Qathafi was preparing to flee Libya, he said: "We have contacts with people from the inner circle of Al Qathafi. All evidence shows that the end is very near, with God's grace," he said.

He also predicted a "catastrophic" end for Al Qathafi and his inner circle.

Jubilant scenes of celebrations could also be seen in other cities recently captured by the insurgents, such as Zawiyah, Zliten, Gharyan, Sabratha, Brega and other smaller towns.

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