Libya's rebel leadership offered a "dead or alive" bounty for fugitive strongman Muammar Qaddafi, adding it would grant carte blanch immunity to any member of his entourage who kills him or hands him over.
NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil told reporters a Benghazi businessman, whom he did not identify, had offered a reward of two million Libyan dinars (USD 1.67 million / Euro 1.2 Million) for Qaddafi's head.
"The National Transitional Council announces that any of his inner circle who kill Gaddafi or capture him, society will give amnesty or pardon for any crime he has committed," he told a news conference.
The move comes a day after rebels seized nearly all of Tripoli, but sporadic gunfire was still heard Wednesday, and Qaddafi loyalists fired shells and assault rifles at the fighters who captured the Libyan leader's personal compound on Tuesday.
The streets of the city were still largely deserted Wednesday, scattered with debris, broken glass and other remnants of fighting, while rebel fighters manned checkpoints every few hundred yards.
Rebel leaders, meanwhile, made their first moves to set up a new government in the capital. During Libya's six-month civil war, opposition leaders had established their interim administration, the National Transitional Council, in the eastern city of Benghazi, which fell under rebel control shortly after the outbreak of widespread anti-regime protests in February.
"Members of the council are now moving one by one from Benghazi to Tripoli," said Mansour Saif Al Nasr, the Libyan opposition's new ambassador to France. He added Tripoli is "secure and our guys are checking all the areas."
But even with his 42-year-old regime crumbling around him, Qaddafi vowed not to surrender. In an audio message early Wednesday, he called on residents of the Libyan capital and loyal tribesmen across his North African nation to free Tripoli from the "devils and traitors" who have overrun it.
The broadcast came a day after hundreds of Libyan rebels stormed Qaddafi's fortress-like Bab Al Aziziya compound in the capital but found no sign of the longtime leader. Late Sunday, the rebels entered Tripoli, pouring into the Mediterranean metropolis of some 2 million people in a stunning breakthrough.
On Wednesday morning, rebel fighters said they still did not have full control of Bab Al Aziziya. Mohammad Amin, a field commander, said regime loyalists continued to fire into the complex.
"We think Gaddafi is still hiding somewhere in Tripoli. He is likely to be in the Al Hadhba Al Khadra area," an official in Tripoli, who gave his name as Abdul Rahman, told Reuters by telephone.
"There is fighting in the Al Hadhba Al Khadra area."