Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday Recap of Revolution comes to Tripoli
Anti-Gaddafi rebels take Tripoli's Green Square
Rebel fighters have reached the highly symbolic Green Square in the centre of Tripoli, with footage showing jubilant crowds and no signs of resistance.
Muammar Gaddafi's son and heir apparent Seif has been arrested and another son has surrendered — but there is still no sign of the dictator himself, who could be hidden in a secret bunker in the capital or a surrounding suburb.
Wild celebrations have taken over Green Square, with young men waving the red, black and green flag of anti-regime forces and chanting Allahu Akbar (God is greatest).
The joyous scenes follow the surrender of Gaddafi's presidential guards, who were in charge of protecting Gaddafi and Tripoli but have now reportedly joined the revolt, allowing the opposition force to move in freely.
A Libyan government spokesman earlier said the dictator is ready to negotiate with rebels and has asked NATO to convince the rebels to halt their attack on Tripoli.
It is a sharp contrast to Gaddafi's earlier defiance earlier today, with three audio messages broadcast on state TV urging supporters to fight the rebels on the streets.
Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said on state television that 1300 people have been killed in the rebel push, dubbed Operation Mermaid Dawn, which began at dawn on Sunday local time in coordination with NATO — the culmination of six months of civil war.
Rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, of the National Transitional Council, has offered the dictator safe passage out of the country if Gaddafi agrees to step down.
Gaddafi's son Mohammad was speaking live on Al Jazeera from his house as heavy gunfire crackled in the background around 10.30am AEST.
But the phone call abruptly cut off after he said gunmen had surrounded his house.
Earlier, in a key development, the International Criminal Court confirmed the arrest of Gaddafi 's other son Seif, who was long seen as a successor to his father.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court had issued arrest warrants for Seif for crimes against humanity .
"We hope he can soon be in the Hague" to face judgement, he said.
"We hope that Muammar Gaddafi is also arrested and also faces justice," he said.
Seif Gaddafi and his father are accused of ordering, planning and participating in illegal attacks on civilians in the early days of the violent crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
It has also emerged that Gaddafi's wife and daughter, Safia and Aisha, fled to Tunisia on Saturday with a Libyan delegation and remain on the island of Djerba in the south.
RECAP of the REVOLT in TRIPOLI So Far
TRIPOLI (AFP): — Here's a recap at 1230 GMT. After this we are going to start a new version of this live report as this one is getting a bit bulky:
- Fighting rages near the compound of embattled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and in other parts of Tripoli, witnesses say, a day after jubilant rebels overran Green Square, the symbolic heart of the capital.
- Libyan rebels packed in trucks, cars and pickups are streaming in from western Libya towards Green Square, brandishing arms and honking horns, an AFP correspondent has reported from the scene.
- The head of the Libyan rebels council says his ad hoc government is preparing to move to Tripoli where some "pockets" of loyalists to Colonel Moamer Kadhafi are still fighting.
- It is difficult to tell whether Kadhafi has fled the country or remains within, according to Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council tells Al-Arabiya news channel from Benghazi.
- Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says no more than 10 to 15 percent of Tripoli is still in the hands of the Kadhafi regime
1216 GMT: RUSSIA SAYS EXPECTS IMMINENT SWITCH OF POWER TO LIBYA REBELS
1213 GMT: UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg: "For the cynics who said change wasn?t possible, who had written off the Libyan uprising, written off the Arab Spring, clearly, they were wrong.
"The movement for freedom hasn?t been stamped out. It?s alive and kicking, and it?s here to stay."
1210 GMT: Despite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's apparently unyielding stance, Syrian authorities have released leading human rights activist Abdel Karim Rihawi after detaining him 11 days ago, his lawyer says.
"The authorities released Abdel Karim Rihawi without bringing any charges against him," lawyer Khalil Matuk said. Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights, was arrested in Damascus on August 11 during a crackdown by the regime on anti-government protests.
1208 GMT: EU president Herman Van Rompuy and Commission chief Manuel Barroso said in a joint statement: "The quest for freedom by the people of Libya is coming to a historic moment".
"The European Union will keep supporting the country in its democratic transition and economic reconstruction, based on social justice, inclusiveness and territorial integrity, together with the international community."
1206 GMT: Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, says: "Today Libya is entering a new era."I salute the courage of those who have fought to make this possible. It is now time to launch a process of transition towards a new Libya, in which democratic principles, justice and human rights are fully respected."
1202 GMT: CNN tweeting that rebel forces are pulling back from Green Square in Tripoli after heavy fighting. No confirmation from other sources.
1159 GMT: Libyans living in Kuwait lowered and burned the flag of Moamer Kadhafi's regime at the embassy in Kuwait City and hoisted the rebel flag as the Libyan envoy joined the rebels. Libyan ambassador Mohammad Al-Mubarak said he has joined the National Transitional Council (NTC), and recognises it as the sole and legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Mubarak told Kuwait's KUNA news agency that "the embassy will operate as a representative of the Libyan people under the NTC."
1156 GMT: The African Union Peace and Security Council will hold an emergency meeting today concerning the war in Libya, AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni told AFP.
"The main objective is to engage with all parties in Libya, engage in dialogue and seek peaceful solutions to the situation," he said.
1152 GMT: LIBYAN REBEL CHIEF INVITED TO PARIS ON WEDNESDAY: SARKOZY
1151 GMT: SYRIA FREES LEADING HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: LAWYER
1150 GMT: Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at traders City Index, says today's rise in European stock markets was "undoubtedly helped by the seeming imminent end to hostilities in Libya as the rebels seek to take control of the capital Tripoli."
Share prices in oil majors were boosted by plunging Brent crude prices on the prospects of Libyan oil production returning to normal after the rebel advance deep into Tripoli left Kadhafi close to defeat, traders said.
1146 GMT: We use the cliche 'a black day' for when bad things happen but what do you call a day when most people celebrate the news? Tripoli residents are cheering the expected demise of Moamer Kadhafi, European stock markets are higher and at The Oval, Sachin Tendulkar has scored more than 50 runs and could be on his way to that elusive 100th hundred.
1123 GMT: The International Organisation for Migration says it has dispatched a ship to Libyan capital Tripoli to evacuate migrants. "The IOM chartered boat, which has a capacity to carry 300 people, left the eastern city of Benghazi Monday morning... The boat, the Tasucu, is due to arrive in Tripoli on Tuesday and will leave for Benghazi as soon as IOM is able to successfully board the migrants," the inter-governmental agency announces.
1114 GMT: Libyan rebels in the eastern frontline oil town of Brega say loyalist forces are continuing to fight. "The situation has not changed on the frontline, the front is still in Brega," Ahmed Omar Bani, the rebels' military spokesman told AFP. "We hope they (regime soldiers) will lay down their arms and retreat to Ras Lanuf and Sirte." Brega, located 240 kilometres (150 miles) southwest of the rebel capital of Benghazi, has changed hands several times since the conflict began. It is located on the coastal road from Benghazi to Tripoli.
1112 GMT: The Libyan rebel chief said it is difficult to tell whether Kadhafi has fled the country or remains within, pointing out that he could still be at his Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli. "The area around al-Azizya is still a hot spot. There are forces that continue to fight the rebels. He (Kadhafi) could still be in al-Azizya, or in neighbouring areas," Abdel Jalil said. "No one could definitely tell whereabouts of Kadhafi, whether inside Libya or abroad. Some areas remain beyond the rebels' control," he added.
1111 GMT: The head of the Libyan rebels council says his ad hoc government is preparing to move to Tripoli where some "pockets" of loyalists to Colonel Moamer Kadhafi are still fighting. "The heroic rebels have controlled almost all of Tripoli. Preparatory measures are being taken for the national council to move to Tripoli. Trips are already being prepared," Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the National Transitional Council told Al-Arabiya news channel from Benghazi. "There remains some pockets (of resistance) that are delaying this move. But God willing, we will eliminate them within 48 hours," he says.
1108 GMT: LIBYAN EMBASSY IN DAMASCUS SIDES WITH REVOLUTION: STATEMENT
1059 GMT: The UK's David Cameron says: "The latest information is that the vast majority of Tripoli is now controlled by free Libyan fighters, although fighting continues -- and some of it is extremely fierce."
"Clearly the immediate priority today is to establish security in Tripoli," he told reporters, after breaking off a holiday to return to London to chair an emergency meeting of ministers and military chiefs. "We are working closely with the NTC (rebel National Transitional Council) to support their plans to make sure that happens," he said.
Cameron said he will be speaking to rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil by telephone later today to urge him to respect human rights and avoid reprisals as rebel fighters take control of Tripoli.
1051 GMT: Libyan rebels packed in trucks, cars and pickups are streaming in from western Libya towards Green Square in the heart of Tripoli, brandishing arms and honking horns, an AFP correspondent reports from the scene. In just a short space of time around 40 vehicles sped by, among them a rubbish truck crammed with 25 fighters, the reporter says. Many of the rebels are waving the flag of the revolution as they head in the direction of to Green Square to reinforce fighters there who have come under sniper attack by Moamer Kadhafi loyalists.
1042 GMT: More good news from the region - Gaza's Popular Resistance Committees has agreed to halt to rocket fire on Israel and abide by an Egyptian-brokered truce after four days of deadly clashes. At a press conference in Gaza City, the PRC said its militants will respect a "temporary" ceasefire which was announced late on yesterday by Gaza's Hamas rulers.
1040 GMT: British Prime Minister David Cameron says Kadhafi's regime is in "full retreat" and the long-time Libyan leader should give up any hope he has of clinging on to power.
"His regime is falling apart and in full retreat," Cameron said. "Kadhafi must stop fighting, without conditions, and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya."
1034 GMT: BBC reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes has been shot at in Tripoli forces this morning by pro-Kadhafi. Wingfield-Hayes was accompanying rebels in Tripoli when pro-Gaddafi forces attacked the convoy, the BBC says. "As we drove along the sea-front towards Green Square, the convoy was ambushed by Gaddafi loyalists using a 20mm anti-aircraft cannon," Wingfield-Hayes said afterwards.
1030 GMT: The shares of Italian companies active in Libya, such as energy giant Eni and technology company Ansaldo STS, have soared by over five percent as rebels overrun Tripoli. Ansaldo STS, a subsidiary of industrial group Finmeccanica which specialises in railway and telecommunication infrastructure and had large contracts in Libya before the conflict, shot up 5.73 percent in mid-morning trade. "Ansaldo STS had to cancel two large contracts worth a total of 660 million euros because of the conflict and had been forced to revise down its targets for 2011 and 2012," said analyst Enrico Coco from investment bank Banca Leonardo. "The markets seem to be betting on the situation returning to normal and the contracts being picked up again," he said.
1022 GMT: KADHAFI REGIME IN "FULL RETREAT" AND SHOULD STOP FIGHTING: CAMERON
1019 GMT: More international reactions:
-Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini: "The offers of exile were made in increasingly explicit ways numerous times. The deadline by now has passed, the only path left is that of justice -- the justice of the ICC."
-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is the lone voice of foreign support for the crumbling regime: "Today we are seeing images of the democratic governments of Europe, along with the supposedly democratic government of the United States destroying Tripoli with their bombs."
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu: "China respects the Libyan people's choice and hopes Libya will return to stability soon and the people will lead a normal life."
1014 GMT: AFP editors have collated wordlwide reactions to news that Libyan rebels are in Tripoli and Moamer Kadhafi's regime is crumbling:
- US President Barack Obama: "Tonight, the momentum against the Kadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator."
- British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his holiday to attend a meeting on Libya while French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded foreign support for the rebels, urged Kadhafi to surrender.
- Sarkozy has called on Kadhafi "to immediately order those of his forces that are still loyal... to put down their arms, to return to their barracks and make themselves available to the legitimate Libyan authorities."
- Anders Fogh Rasmussen, head of NATO, whose aerial bombing played a key role in weakening Kadhafi's military infrastructure: "The Kadhafi regime is clearly crumbling". It is "time to create a new Libya -- a state based on freedom, not fear; democracy, not dictatorship; the will of the many, not the whims of a few."
1012 GMT: France plans to host a meeting of world powers implicated in the Libyan conflict next week, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says, welcoming the rebel forces' entry into Tripoli. "We have reached the tipping point. This is a subject of great satisfaction. France took risks, calculated risks, but the cause was just," Juppe tells reporters in Paris."France has proposed an extraordinary meeting of the Contact Group at the highest level from next week," calling on the strongman's remaining supporters to lay down their arms.
1006 GMT: The 'Arab Spring' led to the departure of Tunisia's President Zine el Abidine BenAli in January followed a few weeks later by the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak but the regional uprising stalled when Moamer Kadhafi vowed to die fighting.
Will his departure after six months of struggle across Libya give renewed impetus to the movement for freedom and democracy in North Africa and the Middle East?
Yesterday embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad scoffed at Western demands that he step down and warned against any foreign intervention in Syria.
0957 GMT: LIBYAN CONTACT GROUP TO MEET IN PARIS NEXT WEEK : FRANCE
0954 GMT: "NTC (the rebel National Transitional Council) will move soon from Benghazi to Tripoli and they will appoint a new transitional government which will rule the country, which will serve the people in all cities," London charge d'affaires Nacua says.
Speaking on the steps of the embassy, he says: "In the next few days, we may be facing some difficulties because every revolution will face some difficulties," he says.
"Maybe some mistakes will happen but we believe that our people in NTC are capable of resolving all the problems... and we will go forward to build the promised Libya and we will have a promising relationship between the UK and a new Libya."
0950 GMT: Mahmud Nacua's Libya's charge d'affaires in London, says he believes Moamer Kadhafi is still in Tripoli, but promises rebel fighters will"turn over every stone to find him". IHe says a new transitional government will be appointed soon to rule Libya from its capital to avoid a potentially damaging power vacuum. "There will be no vacuum," Nacua says.
0942 GMT: The Libyan rebel council's top diplomat in London insists there will be no power vacuum in the country, saying the transitional council council will move from Benghazi to Tripoli "soon".Charge d'affaires Mahmud Nacua says the rebels now control 95 percent of Tripoli after the dramatic push into the capital yesterday. "There is still some pockets who support Kadhafi. Maybe there is some fighting in some areas but on the whole, our fighters control 95 percent of the city and the country," he told reporters from the steps of the embassy.
0933 GMT: "If Kadhafi continues to incite civil war in the hours to come, he will be the only one responsible for a dramatic blood bath," Italy's Frattini says, calling on the rebels not to "give in to acts of revenge" and to respect "prisoners' dignity."
0928 GMT: "Around the (Tripoli) airport, which is a key zone, the last attacks are being wound up, the snipers have been arrested and in some cases have given themselves up," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says. "The arrest of Kadhafi's son has been decisive," he says.
The foreign minister also said time has run out for Kadhafi to flee into exile, and he will now have to face justice at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. "The offers of exile were made in increasingly explicit ways numerous times. The deadline by now has passed, the only path left is that of justice -- the justice of the ICC," Frattini said.
0919 GMT: More from South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: "Nobody has asked for asylum in South Africa, and as far as Johannesburg is aware, Kadhafi remains in Libya."
"The future of Kadhafi should be decided by Libyans...," she told reporters.
South Africa continues to talks to both parties in Libya but "as peace brokers we have got no reason to create a state within the state," Nkoana-Mashaban said.
0917 GMT: More from China's foreign ministry: "China is willing to work with the international community to play a constructive role in the future reconstruction of Libya."
Chinese economic interests in Libya include oil, railway and telecoms projects.
0914 GMT: Residents in the Tripoli suburb of Gorji are tense and jumpy about today's uncertain situation yet happy about what they see as Kadhafi's inevitable exit, AFP's Charles Onians says. They just need to get through the bloody transition.
"Gorji was the first neighbourhood that made anti-Kadhafi demonstrations, we've had 100 people arrested since the start of the revolution, but we haven't had any news from them yet," Gorji resident Abubakr Wnees tells O'Nians. "State television said they would attack this area if we don't give up. Kadhafi told a local sheikh (Muslim preacher) to tell people to fight in his name, but he refused and so they arrested him."
0913 GMT: Gorji residents like Abdel Rahman Bin Jama, whose neighbourhood sheltered and treated a team of AFP journalists that came under sniper attack, want nothing else than to join the fight. "I don't have a weapon but we protect the neighbourhood because it's ours. We don't have enough weapons, but we all want weapons to get rid of the dictator. Everyone here is a fighter," says Bin Jama. "Even the women give us emotional support and they are so happy about what is going on now. You won't find anyone here who supports Kadhafi."
0911 GMT: AFP's Charles Onians says civilians in Tripoli are exhausted after staying up most of the night, enjoying the food, drink and cigarettes that they must resist during the Ramadan days, despite the burning heat. People in the southwestern Gorji neighbourhood, near where Kadhafi's son Mohamed lives and was detained by rebels yesterday, told Onians they welcomed the freedom fighters when they arrived. "The rebels from the mountains and from Zawiyah are now in Martyrs' Square (formerly Green Square) and the surrounding streets," said Gorji resident Saad Zaidi, who has just returned from celebrations in the centre of town. "But there are African snipers from Chad in the Old City, and sometimes you can hear mortars falling. But we don't know where they're being fired from."
0905 GMT: The International Criminal Court is seeking the transfer of Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity, the court's spokesman tells AFP. "The court as a whole is involved," Fadi El-Abdallah said, answering 'yes' when asked if that means discussions are underway with the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) over Seif al-Islam's transfer.
0856 GMT: More from AFP's Charles Onians on the spot in Tripoli as Moamer Kadhafi's regime finally crumbles after months of strife: "The capital's battle-scarred streets are all but empty as the sun rises on the long-dreamt of new Libya, the day after rebels made a lightning advance on the capital. "Rebel checkpoints are sparse, indicating they have not yet taken complete control of the city, as they await the arrival of thousands more freedom fighters from already liberated parts of the country. "The drab city's concrete walls have been daubed with anti-Kadhafi and pro-revolutionary graffiti, demanding freedom for Libya and an end to the leader most people here consider insane."
0850 GMT: AFP correspondent Charles Onians is in Tripoli and has described the historic and dramatic scene in the Libyan capital today: "Tripoli residents have awoke with jubilation and fear today, asking for weapons to join rebels in their cat-and-mouse war with loyalists who have besieged the city with snipers and drive-by shootings."
0849 GMT: WORLD CRIMES COURT IN TALKS WITH LIBYAN REBELS OVER KADHAFI'S SON: OFFICIAL
0848 GMT:Moamer Kadhafi's regime controls no more than 10-15 percent of Tripoli, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says. "We have seen opposition to the regime advance further over the last hours and we can say that at the present time no more than 10 to 15 percent of the town is still in the hands of the regime," Frattini tells SKY TG 24 television.
0841 GMT: China's foreign ministry says it "respects the Libyan people's choice" after rebels entered Tripoli and it hopes stability will return to the country rapidly.
0835 GMT: A spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says: "We seem to be witnessing the end of the Kadhafi regime. Kadhafi has to relinquish power now and avoid further bloodshed."
0833 GMT: CHINA SAYS 'RESPECTS LIBYAN PEOPLE'S CHOICE' AFTER REBELS ENTER TRIPOLI
0830 GMT: KADHAFI'S REGIME CONTROLS NO MORE THAN 10-15 PERCENT OF TRIPOLI: ITALY
0831 GMT: KADHAFI REGIME APPEARS TO BE ENDING: EU'S ASHTON
0821 GMT: South Africa denies it has sent planes to Libya to evacuate Kadhafi.
Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane tells reporters: "The South Africa government would like to refute and dispell the rumours and claims that it has sent planes to Libya to fly Colonel Kadhafi and his family to an undisclosed location."
0810 GMT: More from Mohamed Kadhafi's interview with Al Jazeera:
"I was not part of the security or official systems of the government to know what was going on. I think that the lack of reason and wide vision led Libya to where it is now," he said in the interview. "Our problems were simple. They could have been solved," he said as the crackle of gunfire, which he said was "inside" his home, interrupted his conversation.
0800 GMT: Here's an update of the latest situation in Tripoli this morning as rebels battle for control of the Libyan capital.
-An AFP reporter says heavy fighting is raging this morning near the Moamer Kadhafi's Tripoli compound.
-Fighting has been audible since around 0400 GMT in the south of the capital, where there have been exchanges of heavy weaponry and automatic rifle fire.
-Moamer Kadhafi's whereabouts are unknown but one of his sons, Seif al-Islam, has been arrested while another, Mohamed, was interviewed by Al-Jazeera television cowering in his house, afraid to leave.
0738 GMT: TV reports show Libyan opposition groups hauling down the flag of the Kadhafi regime and installing another flag at the Libyan embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara. NTV television also showed opposition groups tearing down pictures of Kadhafi during the protest.
0726 GMT: The rebel advance deep into Tripoli has sent oil prices tumbling in Asian trade on prospects of Libyan oil production getting fully back on stream.
0648 GMT: The office of the British Prime Minister David Cameron has cut short a trip to Cornwall to return to London to attend a security meeting on Libya early Monday.
0645 GMT: Herve Bar, an AFP reporter in Benghazi, says Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of the Libya rebel "capital" during the night to celebrate what they believed was the imminent fall of Kadhafi. The streets are jammed with thousands of vehicles, their hazard lights flashing, as people headed for the Corniche, the Mediterranean seaside avenue that is the nerve centre of the six-month-old revolution. From the minarets of mosques, muezzins blared out their shared celebration in prayer.
0628 GMT: A diplomatic source has told AFP that Kadhafi could still be in his Bab Al-Aziziya compound in central Tripoli. Asking not to be identified, Tte source, who met the embattled strongman within the past two weeks, said: "He is still in Tripoli and could be in his residence at Bab Al-Aziziya."
0605 GMT: In a brief phone interview with Al-Jazeera television broadcast Monday morning, one of Kadhafi's sons, Mohamed, said he was holed up in his house, frightened to leave. During the broadcast the sound of intense firing could be heard, interrupting the interview. When it resumed, Kadhafi spoke with a tone of panic. Al-Jazeera gave no indication of where the house is, or even whether it is in Tripoli.
0548 GMT: An AFP reporter says heavy fighting was heard near the Kadhafi residence in central Tripoli. Fighting has also been reported in the south of the capital.
0445 GMT: An AFP reporter said the night was mainly calm in Tripoli although the sound of fighting was heard early on Monday in the south of the capital. By daybreak it was still not clear how much of the capital the rebels controlled.
0433 GMT: Australia?s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has urged Kadhafi to "get out of the way" of the rebellion sweeping his country: "Events are moving very, very quickly but it obviously appears that the rebels are in Tripoli, that the rebels are about to secure Libya overall. ?We continue to call on Colonel Kadhafi to get out of the way, and of course we believe that he should face the international charges that are against him.?
0414 GMT: The Philippine government has warned its nationals in Libya to stay indoors as it arranges a ship to get them out of the country. An estimated 2,000 Filipinos, many medical workers, are still in Libya with about 1,200 in Tripoli and the surrounding suburbs.
0331 GMT: In front of the White House in WashingtonDC, Rania Swadek, a 33-year-old American-Libyan teacher, told our correspondent: ?We want Kadhafi alive to put him on trial for his crimes against humanity for four decades". Children were among those gathered with some wearing white t-shirts with the Libyan flag and "Free Libya".
0227 GMT: AFP correspondent Stephane Jourdain in Washington DC reports a small crowd has gathered outside the White House waving Libyan flags and singing: "Merci Sarkozy, Merci Sarkozy, thank you Obama, thank you Obama".
0217 GMT: Obama calls on Libyan rebels to respect human rights and move to democracy. The Kadhafi regime is at a "tipping point", he said, urging the Libyan leader to go.
0135 GMT: Witnesses have reported scenes of jubilation in Benghazi, the rebels' bastion in the east, where delirious residents are said to be dancing in the streets and proclaiming the end of the regime of the "tyrant" Kadhafi.
0113 GMT: Mahmud Jibril, a rebel leader has called on police and security forces not to leave their posts and to keep doing their jobs, staying alert to protect the people and their property. "Today, as we celebrate victory, I appeal to your conscience and to your responsibility: don't get carried away. Do not avenge yourselves, don't pillage, don't insult foreigners and respect the prisoners." He took particular pains to refer to those close to Kadhafi who might be captured, including his sons and relatives. "Prove that we are up the responsibility to protect them and their lives," he said.
0105 GMT: Libyan senior rebel leader Mahmud Jibril says there are still pockets of resistance in Tripoli from forces loyal to Kadhafi, rebel television Al-Ahrar reports.
0100 GMT: US President Barack Obama, after receiving a briefing from senior national security staffer John Brennan during his seaside vacation, told reporters: "We're going to wait until we have full confirmation of what has happened... I'll make a statement when we do."
0100 GMT: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a staunch of ally of Kadhafi, has slammed Western powers for "destroying Tripoli with their bombs". "Today we are seeing images of the democratic governments of Europe, along with the supposedly democratic government of the United States destroying Tripoli with their bombs."
0001 GMT: Welcome to AFP's coverage of the Libya conflict as rebels surge into the capital of Tripoli in a final drive to oust Moamer Kadhafi, seizing swathes of the capital including symbolic Green Square and arresting the strongman's son, Seif al-Islam.
Here's a summary of the situation so far:
- Thousands of residents poured onto the streets to welcome the rebels, congregating at the site which they renamed Martyrs Square near the water front in the centre of Tripoli.
- Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told a press conference that 1,300 people have been killed in the rebel assault on the capital, describing the fighting as a "real tragedy."
- In The Hague, the International Criminal Court's prosecutor confirmed that Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, for whom the ICC had issued arrest warrants for crimes against humanity, is in detention.
- Rebels have reportedly overrun the eastern suburb of Tajura and boasted that they would seize control of the capital during the night.
- A rebel party took over an army barracks at a western entrance to Tripoli, raiding the stores of missiles and other ammunition, AFP correspondents at the scene said.
- The rebels also released dozens of prisoners held in Maya, 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Tripoli, AFP correspondents said.
- It is still not clear how much of the capital the rebels have seized, but it appears they have taken over the headquarters of the Libyana mobile telephone company, located in Tajura.
- Libyan rebel leaders said an advance party of fighters had arrived by sea in the capital early Sunday and joined sleeper cells of rebels to launch the final drive, codenamed "Mermaid."
- Another rebel force advanced on the capital from the west, moving in a convoy of around 100 vehicles as onlookers fired celebratory gunfire into the air, an AFP correspondent said.