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Libya: Explosions Near Qaddafi Compound as Rebels Close In

At least seven loud blasts heard near Qaddafi's compound in the capital Tripoli. Meanwhile, rebels continue to close in on the capital.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/19/2011, 3:32 AM

At least seven loud blasts were heard in Tripoli early Friday morning as bombs fell in the vicinity of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s compound, The Associated Press is reporting.

A correspondent staying in a hotel in the Libyan capital said he heard the explosions and saw flames in the air as bombs struck the ground. NATO jets were heard circling the sky above.

Residents in Tripoli told AP that at least three blasts were heard on the road leading to the airport in the capital. There were no immediate reports of any casualties in the attack.

The attacks near Qaddafi’s compound came as rebels continued to close in on the Libyan leader. On Thursday, the rebels captured a key oil refinery in the strategic city of Zawiya near Tripoli, where fighting has been ongoing for several days.

Reporters escorted around the complex by rebel fighters reported no sign of Qaddafi troops, and dozens of rebel groups could be seen milling around.

Earlier this week, the rebels said they had seized Gharyan, a second strategic town near Tripoli. Rebel fighters are now closing in on the capital from the west and the south, while NATO controls the seas to the north, AP noted.

The rebel political leadership has said they expect Qaddafi will be be out of power by August.