The end is near for Gadhafi’s Libyan regime
The long, brutal reign of Col. Moammar Gadhafi appeared to collapse Sunday as rebels swept into Tripoli, captured two of his sons and set off wild street celebrations in a capital that he’d ruled by fear for more than four decades, Libyan and NATO officials said.
With NATO bombings paving the way, rebel forces entered Tripoli with surprising ease and by early today controlled large swaths of the city. Gadhafi’s personal guard surrendered to rebel forces, and live television footage showed crowds of opposition supporters in Tripoli’s Green Square – the regime’s symbolic heart – unfurling the tricolor flag of pre-Gadhafi Libya and smashing the ruler’s portraits in scenes that were unthinkable just days ago.
The rebels’ Transitional National Council in the eastern city of Benghazi confirmed Seif al-Islam’s arrest. Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, told CNN that he’d begin talks with the rebels today on transferring him to the custody of the court, which issued a warrant for his arrest in June on charges of crimes against humanity.
Another son, Saadi, also was arrested, and a third, Mohammed, reportedly surrendered. He appeared on the Al-Jazeera satellite channel and appeared scared and shaken, saying his house was surrounded by rebels. Near the end of the interview, gunfire rang out inside the house and the interview was cut off, but rebel officials later told the channel that Mohammed was unharmed and that they’d try to bring him to Benghazi.
As rebels partied in the streets, hailed “as the victors of war,” Abdelrazk said, rebel military spokesman Col. Ahmed Bani told McClatchy Newspapers that his forces were hunting Gadhafi in and around Tripoli. Gadhafi’s whereabouts were unknown, but a U.S. official said, “We have no reason to believe (he) has left the country.”