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Libyan rebels capture Tripoli, Gaddafi's son detained

Monday August 22, 2011 09:24:04 AM, IANS

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Tripoli: Libyan rebel forces have taken control over the capital city of Tripoli, earlier held by Muammar Gaddafi, while Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam has been captured by rebel troops, senior rebel leaders said.

Abdullah Almayhop, a senior leader of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) said Gaddafi's eldest son Mohammed has also surrendered to the rebels, Xinhua reported.

Rebel troops were seen waving opposition flag in Tripoli's Green Square, where most of the government departments are located.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the NTC, said in an TV interview Sunday night that Gaddafi's second son Saif al-Islam has been captured and was under custody in a safe place.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's office later confirmed that Saif al-Islam has been detained.

The ICC had issued arrest warrants in June for Gaddafi, Saif al- Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, charged with crimes against humanity.

Jalil said Gaddafi's guards in Tripoli had surrendered to the opposition troops.

NTC vice chairman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga told Al Jazeera TV channel in an interview that Libya has entered into a new era by overthrowing the Muammar Gaddafi regime.

"Tonight is historical," said Ghoga.

He said Gaddafi was still in Libya and that he hoped to arrest him and bring him to trial soon.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi said in an audio speech broadcast Sunday that all tribes should march to Tripoli to "purify" the city, according to state TV.

"The west will not protect you. Tripoli will be destroyed," he said.

He said he was in Tripoli and would defend the city. He called on his supporters to defend the capital from the rebels and pledged to "emerge victorious" rather than surrender.

Gaddafi urged all the imams (clerics) of mosques to guide people to protect the capital.

Moussa Ibrahim, spokesman for Gaddafi's government, said around 1,300 people were killed in the fighting in Tripoli since Sunday noon.

He said at a press conference in Tripoli that 5,000 people were wounded in the battle and the NATO should be held responsible for the bloodshed.

He said the country needs Gaddafi and people should be encouraged to fight for him.

Al Jazeera TV channel reported that residents of the city began to stream into streets to welcome the opposition troops, despite Gaddafi's call urging people to take up arms to guard his rule.

Thousands of people also flocked into the streets in rebel-held Benghazi, ready to celebrate for the collapse of Gaddafi's rule.





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