Rebels claim to have captured two Qaddafi sons and streets erupted in celebration as Rebels Enter Tripoli Meeting Little Resistance.
Rebels surged into the Libyan capital Sunday night, meeting only sporadic resistance from troops loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and setting off raucous street celebrations by residents hailing the end of his 42 years in power.
The rebel leadership announced that insurgents had captured two of Colonel Qaddafi’s sons, including Seif al-Islam, his heir apparent. The leadership also announced that the elite presidential guard protecting the Libyan leader had surrendered.
While there was no independent confirmation of those developments, the rebels were racing through parts of the city with apparent ease, and NATO and American officials made clear that control of Tripoli, which had been the final stronghold of the longtime Libyan leader, was now in doubt.
Rebel spokesmen said that their fighters had surrounded the Bab al Aziziya compound where they believed Colonel Qaddafi may still be holding out.
Colonel Qaddafi issued a series of defiant audio statements during the night, calling on people to “save Tripoli” from a rebel offensive. He said Libyans were becoming “slaves of the imperialists” and that “all the tribes are now marching on Tripoli.”
He claimed to be in the Libyan capital and said he would remain there “until the end.” But some rebel leaders said they thought he had already left Tripoli.
Al Arabiya television aired images of Libyans celebrating in central Tripoli and ripping down Qaddafi posters. Huge crowds gathered in Benghazi, the capital of the rebel-controlled eastern part of the country, as expectations grew that Colonel Qaddafi’s hold on power was crumbling.
While American officials say they are unsure how the battle for Tripoli will play out, they say they are preparing contingency plans if and when Qaddafi’s regime falls to help prevent the vast Libyan government stockpiles of weapons, particularly portable antiaircraft missiles, from being dispersed.
It’s now clear the rebels have won, but who are they, and what are their plans?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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