Libyan Rebels Advance Towards Tripoli

Buoyed by their taking of the strategic city of Zawiyah earlier this week, Libyan rebels moved closer to a confrontation with besieged leader Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday as they advanced towards the capital Tripoli, reports said.

Gunfire and explosions rocked Tripoli from late Saturday to early Sunday, while rebel sympathizers reportedly held massive protests inside the capital, which is considered Gaddafi’s only remaining stronghold. Reuters also reported that some Tripoli residents have taken arms against Gaddafi’s 41-year-old regime. Rebels in several trucks were within 16 miles of Tripoli as of Sunday morning.

Gaddafi, however, remained defiant and said that he would never relinquish his power even as rebels appear to be pushing him towards what could be a bloody face-off in the coming days. In an audio message, Gaddafi said his forces have defeated rebels who were advancing towards the capital. “Those rats … were attacked by the masses tonight and we eliminated them,” Gaddafi said. “I know that there are air bombardments but the fireworks were louder than the sound of the bombs thrown by the aircraft.”