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Libya: Rebels Take Green Square in Tripoli

Libyan rebels take Tripoli's central Green Square, renamed Shaheed Square, citizens rejoice.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/22/2011, 4:33 AM

The Libyan rebels took Tripoli’s central Green Square early Monday morning, the British Guardian reports.

The rebels waved opposition flags and fired guns into the air in jubilation after reaching the square, said the report, adding that local residents were seen pouring into the streets to celebrate and greet the rebel fighters. They renamed it Square of the Shaheeds.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor of the international criminal court confirmed earlier reports that Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, one of the sons of leader Muammar Qaddafi, had been detained.

There had also been reports that Qaddafi’s eldest son, Mohammed, and the presidential guard had surrendered but that Qaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound was still under the control of the regime.

Mohammed Qaddafi spoke to Al-Jazeera television early Monday morning and confirmed that he had been captured and was being held under house arrest. Israel's Second Radio said that this is not definite and that there may yet be hidden pockets of Qaddafi's loyalists.

Earlier on Sunday it was reported that Libya’s rebels had launched a daring mission to penetrate the capital, which until Saturday night had been considered Muammar Qaddafi’s last stronghold.

An advance party “from Misrata reached Tripoli this dawn by sea and joined the Tripoli rebels,” said Abdullah Melitan, a spokesman for the rebels. The capital was overrun in 72 hours.

Meanwhile, Qaddafi said he would stay in Tripoli “until the end” and previously vowed to "blow Tripoli up" should the rebels enter the city. Some analysts don't believe he intends to surrender.

In an audio message broadcast on Libyan state television, Qaddafi called on his supporters around the country to help liberate the capital from a rebel offensive.

“The time is now to fight for your politics, your oil, your land,” Al-Arabiya quoted Qaddafi as having said. “I am with you in Tripoli - together until the ends of the earth.”

Libyan information ministry spokesman Moussa Ibrahim has also insisted that Qaddafi’s forces would stand and fight, being quoted by the Guardian as saying, “We are still very strong. We have thousands and thousands of fighters who have nowhere to go but to fight.” Fighting is stlll going on in Brega.

The rebels, meanwhile, have reportedly said they would halt their offensive if Qaddafi announced his departure and added that they would give Qaddafi and his sons safe passage out of the country. One source even said they would let him stand for election.