TRIPOLI,Libya, Aug 22 – 1515 GMT: US BELIEVES KADHAFI STILL IN LIBYA: PENTAGON
1513 GMT: Ambassador Aujali promises Libya will join the democratic community and says it will stage elections after one year.
“Of course I believe it. And this is the promise the people made and this is the promise the people are expecting. There is no alternative. We have to have a democratic system. We have to give the people rights.”
1511 GMT: Libya’s ambassador to the US Ali Aujali, who defected to the rebels in February, speaking on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’: “I am feeling great. This is a dream come true after 42 years.”
“I’m not worried at all about tribal conflict. You will not see this happening in Libya at all. This is not an issue for us. The issue for us is how to get rid of Kadhafi and we have done this now.”
1509 GMT: More from Turkey’s Davutoglu: “Leaders of other countries must also be aware of the fact that they will be in power as long as they satisfy the demands of the people.” His remarks may be an implicit warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The minister will fly to rebel-controlled Benghazi tomorrow for a meeting with the opposition, Turkish televisions NTV and CNN-Turk reported. On July 3, Davutoglu visited Benghazi in an apparent sign of Ankara cutting ties with the Kadhafi regime.
1506 GMT: Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has hailed the developments in Libya as a “significant achievement.”
“The change taking place in Libya in compliance with people’s demands, following the one in Egypt and Tunisia, should teach a lesson to everyone,” Davutoglu told a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during a visit, according to the Anatolia news agency.
1504 GMT: The International Organisation for Migration says thousands of third country nationals are “trapped in Tripoli” and appealed all sides of the conflict to protect them from harm.
“We have seen at earlier stages in this crisis that such people, Africans especially, can be particularly vulnerable to hostility or acts of vengeance,” UN High Commissioner for Refugess Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
The IOM said more than 5,000 Bangladeshis, Filipinos and Egyptians had asked the migration agency for help to leave the capital.
1459 GMT: Libya’s official television Al-Jamahiriya has gone off the air, correspondents said, amid unconfirmed reports that rebels had seized the state broadcaster.
Al-Jamahiriya stopped broadcasting at around 1400 GMT, with television screens suddenly turning black. Minutes later the network’s logo appeared at the bottom right of the screen with no picture or sound transmitted.
Libyan opposition websites said rebels, who have taken large swathes of Tripoli where they control several neighbourhoods, seized the headquarters of the television. The claim could not be immediately verified.
1455 GMT: Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan tells reporters there are still no plans to deploy US ground troops in Libya even if the UN or NATO decide a peacekeeping force is required.
1445 GMT: The latest from Andrew Gully in AFP Washington bureau: Pentagon officials tell AFP the US military does not know anything beyond what is being reported by the media on the ground, and, if anything, media reports are a step ahead of their own fact-finding.
The rebel forces are in the capital, the situation is fluid and Kadhafi’s whereabouts are unclear, a US military officer says, adding that obviously NATO is not carrying out any major air strikes in the capital, where fighting is now street-to-street.
1437 GMT: The strength of feeling about Kadhafi is demonstrated by a Tripoli resident who told AFPTV: “I’m going to detonate that bomb in Libya in Gaddafi’s face.
“It’s all over for him, God willing. We will place the bomb on his head, under the hat of revolution and we’re going to blow his curly haired head. Bye bye.”
1424 GMT: An AFP correspondent on the spot in Tripoli says sporadic shooting can be heard this afternoon is several districts of the capital.
Fighting is raging around Moamer Kadhafi’s residence at Bab Al-Aziziya south of the capital and a diplomatic source told an AFP reporter that Kadhafi is still inside.:
Clashes between rebels and loyalists have been reported from a couple of other towns and on the road east from Tripoli towards Misrata.
1415 GMT: More from the Libyan ambassador in Tunisia:
“We are going to facilitate the return of Libyans to their own country, even those who don’t have passports.
“The embassy as well as the consulates in Tunis and Sfax will be open 24 hours a day to respond to the needs of our Libyan brothers,” Ayeb said.
1413 GMT: The Libyan ambassador in Tunisia has acknowledged the rebels’ “clear and incontestable victory” and has vowed to help the repatriation of tens of thousands of Libyans who took refuge over the border.
“Victory is now clear and incontestable,” Youssef el-Ayeb said on Tunisian state television.
“I took up my post in March and from that moment I told the NTC (National Transitional Council) that the ambassador in Tunisia was serving the interests of the Libyan people.
1408 GMT: Libyan diplomats in Prague have burned a portrait of Moamer Kadhafi and his collapsing regime’s flag, hoisting instead the rebel flag over Libya’s mission in the Czech capital.
“We continue to represent our homeland in the Czech Republic like all other diplomatic missions across the globe,” the diplomats say in a statement issued in Prague.
1407 GMT: Some 2,200 people have died in the Syrian regime’s ongoing crackdown on protestors, UN rights chief Navi Pillay has told the Human Rights Council.
“As of today, over 2,200 people have been killed since mass protests began in mid-March, with more than 350 people reportedly killed across Syria since the beginning of Ramadan,” says Pillay.
The UN had previously estimated a death toll of 2,000.
1400 GMT: SYRIA DEATH TOLL REACHES 2,200, UP FROM 2,000: UN RIGHTS CHIEF PILAY
1359 GMT: Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil says “the real moment of victory is when Kadhafi is captured.”
He acknowledges that not the whole of Tripoli is under rebel control.
1356 GMT: The BBC says Libya state TV is off air – the screens went blank a few minutes ago
1354 GMT: Egypt has recognised Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council as the legitimate government as rebels close in on Moamer Kadhafi’s Tripoli compound, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr said.
“Egypt recognises the new regime in Libya and the National Transitional Council that represents it,” he said at a news conference.
1348 GMT: EGYPT RECOGNISES LIBYA REBEL GOVERNMENT: FOREIGN MINISTER
1347 GMT: The Gulf state of Kuwait on Monday recognised the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council as the “legitimate” representative of the Libyan people.
An official source at the foreign ministry “renewed the support of the state of Kuwait to the NTC as the sole and legitimate representative of the Libyan people,” a statement cited by the official KUNA news agency said.
1342 GMT: US stock markets surge on opening as rebels appear close to victory in Libya, with the Dow gaining more than 1.8 percent in the first minutes of trade.
The broader S&P 500 was up 1.8 percent after falling four straight weeks, while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.2 percent.
1339 GMT: Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil has hailed the end of the four-decade “Kadhafi era,” after his fighters took control of most of Tripoli.
“The Kadhafi era is over,” he tells a press conference in Benghazi, eastern Libya, referring to Libya’s veteran leader Moamer Kadhafi.
Abdel Jalil said he hopes Kadhafi, who faces an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court, will be “captured alive so that he will be given a fair trial.”
1327 GMT: The US administration’s top Middle East official says Libyan rebels are clearly winning.
“What’s clear is that the wind (is) in the sails of the rebels, that the rebels are winning, that it’s only a matter of time now before Kadhafi has to step down, before Kadhafi loses the entire country,” Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman told ABC television’s “Good Morning America.”
1321 GMT: “KADHAFI ERA IS OVER”: LIBYA REBEL LEADER
1313 GMT: Libya’s rebel government envoy to the Cairo-based Arab League says his country will not allow NATO bases in Libya after Moamer Kadhafi’s ouster, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reports.
“Libya is an Arab and Islamic nation before NATO and after NATO,” he said, adding, “the Libyans revolted from the 1970s against Western bases and there will be no non-Libyan bases.”
1304 GMT: The Guardian’s Martin Chulov tweets: “Some sort of Kadhafi fightback looks to be taking place in central Tripoli. Shooting near Green Square.”
1302 GMT: Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi expresses his “full solidarity” with the Libyan rebel government as its fighters close in on Moamer Khadafi’s Tripoli compound.
Arabi, in a statement expressed “his full solidarity with the ongoing efforts by the National Transitional Council” and “wished success for the council in leading a new era and preserving Libya’s regional integrity and its sovereignty and independence.”
1255 GMT: Italian stocks have jumped more than 3.0 percent today, led by shares of those companies active in Libya as investors react to news of the imminent defeat of leader Moamer Kadhafi.
Milan’s benchmark FTSE Mib index was up 3.35 percent at 15.091,28 points at 1250 GMT, with energy giant Eni and technology company Ansaldo STS leading the rise.
Oil major ENI, which was the biggest foreign energy producer in Libya before the conflict, saw its shares climb 6.65 percent to 13.31 euros.
1244 GMT: ARAB LEAGUE CHIEF SAYS IN “FULL SOLIDARITY” WITH LIBYA REBEL GOVT
1242 GMT: The BP spokesman said the company had been about to start drilling in the desert in the Ghadames basi and it is keeping in contact with its 100 local staff who remain in Libya.
A 2007 accord with Tripoli allowed BP to drill in the Mediterranean’s Gulf of Sirte at depths of around 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) and at the onshore site near Ghadames.
The deal faced criticism in the United States, with suspicions that BP lobbied for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, to push through the agreement.
1240 GMT: British energy giant BP says it will seek to return to Libya to continue its exploration programme “when conditions allow”.
“We intend to resume our activities and return to the country when conditions allow,” a BP spokesman told AFP.
The London-listed oil giant evacuated its expatriate staff in February when a popular revolt broke out against strongman Kadhafi.
1238 GMT: Russia says it expects the Libyan rebels to shortly take power after seizing most of the capital Tripoli.
The Russian foreign ministry says in a statement that the Tripoli offensive appears to spell “an imminent” change of regime in Libya that should be followed by dialogue in which nations “refrain from interfering in Libya’s internal affairs.”
1237 GMT: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi calls on Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi to give himself up and expresses Italy’s solidarity with the rebels in their battle to take Tripoli.
“We ask Colonel Kadhafi to put an end to every pointless resistance and to save, in this way, his people from further suffering,” Berlusconi says in a government statement.
Welcome to AFP’s live Monday afternoon coverage of the Libya conflict as rebels surge into the capital of Tripoli in a final drive to oust Moamer Kadhafi, seizing swathes of the capital including symbolic Green Square.
Here’s a recap at 1230 GMT.
– Fighting rages near the compound of embattled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi and in other parts of Tripoli, witnesses say, a day after jubilant rebels overran Green Square, the symbolic heart of the capital.
– Libyan rebels packed in trucks, cars and pickups are streaming in from western Libya towards Green Square, brandishing arms and honking horns, an AFP correspondent has reported from the scene.
– The head of the Libyan rebels council says his ad hoc government is preparing to move to Tripoli where some “pockets” of loyalists to Colonel Moamer Kadhafi are still fighting.
– It is difficult to tell whether Kadhafi has fled the country or remains within, according to Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council tells Al-Arabiya news channel from Benghazi.
– Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says no more than 10 to 15 percent of Tripoli is still in the hands of the Kadhafi regime.
1123 GMT: The International Organisation for Migration says it has dispatched a ship to Libyan capital Tripoli to evacuate migrants.
“The IOM chartered boat, which has a capacity to carry 300 people, left the eastern city of Benghazi Monday morning… The boat, the Tasucu, is due to arrive in Tripoli on Tuesday and will leave for Benghazi as soon as IOM is able to successfully board the migrants,” the inter-governmental agency announces.
1114 GMT: Libyan rebels in the eastern frontline oil town of Brega say loyalist forces are continuing to fight.
“The situation has not changed on the frontline, the front is still in Brega,” Ahmed Omar Bani, the rebels’ military spokesman told AFP.
“We hope they (regime soldiers) will lay down their arms and retreat to Ras Lanuf and Sirte.”
Brega, located 240 kilometres (150 miles) southwest of the rebel capital of Benghazi, has changed hands several times since the conflict began. It is located on the coastal road from Benghazi to Tripoli.
1112 GMT: The Libyan rebel chief said it is difficult to tell whether Gaddafi has fled the country or remains within, pointing out that he could still be at his Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli.
“The area around al-Azizya is still a hot spot. There are forces that continue to fight the rebels. He (Gaddafi) could still be in al-Azizya, or in neighbouring areas,” Abdel Jalil said.
“No one could definitely tell whereabouts of Gaddafi, whether inside Libya or abroad. Some areas remain beyond the rebels’ control,” he added.
1111 GMT: The head of the Libyan rebels council says his ad hoc government is preparing to move to Tripoli where some “pockets” of loyalists to Colonel Moamer Gaddafi are still fighting.
“The heroic rebels have controlled almost all of Tripoli. Preparatory measures are being taken for the national council to move to Tripoli. Trips are already being prepared,” Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the National Transitional Council told Al-Arabiya news channel from Benghazi.
“There remains some pockets (of resistance) that are delaying this move. But God willing, we will eliminate them within 48 hours,” he says.
1108 GMT: LIBYAN EMBASSY IN DAMASCUS SIDES WITH REVOLUTION: STATEMENT
1059 GMT: The UK’s David Cameron says: “The latest information is that the vast majority of Tripoli is now controlled by free Libyan fighters, although fighting continues — and some of it is extremely fierce.”
“Clearly the immediate priority today is to establish security in Tripoli,” he told reporters, after breaking off a holiday to return to London to chair an emergency meeting of ministers and military chiefs.
“We are working closely with the NTC (rebel National Transitional Council) to support their plans to make sure that happens,” he said.
Cameron said he will be speaking to rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil by telephone later today to urge him to respect human rights and avoid reprisals as rebel fighters take control of Tripoli.
1051 GMT: Libyan rebels packed in trucks, cars and pickups are streaming in from western Libya towards Green Square in the heart of Tripoli, brandishing arms and honking horns, an AFP reporter reports from the scene.
In just a short space of time around 40 vehicles sped by, among them a rubbish truck crammed with 25 fighters, the reporter says.
Many of the rebels are waving the flag of the revolution as they head in the direction of to Green Square to reinforce fighters there who have come under sniper attack by Moamer Gaddafi loyalists.
1042 GMT: More good news from the region – Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees has agreed to halt to rocket fire on Israel and abide by an Egyptian-brokered truce after four days of deadly clashes.
At a press conference in Gaza City, the PRC said its militants will respect a “temporary” ceasefire which was announced late on yesterday by Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
1040 GMT: British Prime Minister David Cameron says Gaddafi’s regime is in “full retreat” and the long-time Libyan leader should give up any hope he has of clinging on to power.
“His regime is falling apart and in full retreat,” Cameron said. “Gaddafi must stop fighting, without conditions, and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya.”
1034 GMT: BBC reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes has been shot at in Tripoli forces this morning by pro-Gaddafi.
Wingfield-Hayes was accompanying rebels in Tripoli when pro-Gaddafi forces attacked the convoy, the BBC says.
“As we drove along the sea-front towards Green Square, the convoy was ambushed by Gaddafi loyalists using a 20mm anti-aircraft cannon,” Wingfield-Hayes said afterwards.
1030 GMT: The shares of Italian companies active in Libya, such as energy giant Eni and technology company Ansaldo STS, have soared by over five percent as rebels overrun Tripoli.
Ansaldo STS, a subsidiary of industrial group Finmeccanica which specialises in railway and telecommunication infrastructure and had large contracts in Libya before the conflict, shot up 5.73 percent in mid-morning trade.
“Ansaldo STS had to cancel two large contracts worth a total of 660 million euros because of the conflict and had been forced to revise down its targets for 2011 and 2012,” said analyst Enrico Coco from investment bank Banca Leonardo.
“The markets seem to be betting on the situation returning to normal and the contracts being picked up again,” he said.
1022 GMT: Gaddafi regime in full retreat and should stop fighting: Cameron
1019 GMT: More international reactions:
-Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini: “The offers of exile were made in increasingly explicit ways numerous times. The deadline by now has passed, the only path left is that of justice — the justice of the ICC.”
-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is the lone voice of foreign support for the crumbling regime: “Today we are seeing images of the democratic governments of Europe, along with the supposedly democratic government of the United States destroying Tripoli with their bombs.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu: “China respects the Libyan people’s choice and hopes Libya will return to stability soon and the people will lead a normal life.”
1014 GMT: AFP editors have collated worldwide reactions to news that Libyan rebels are in Tripoli and Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is crumbling:
– US President Barack Obama: “Tonight, the momentum against the Gaddafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.”
– British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his holiday to attend a meeting on Libya while French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded foreign support for the rebels, urged Gaddafi to surrender.
– Sarkozy has called on Gaddafi “to immediately order those of his forces that are still loyal… to put down their arms, to return to their barracks and make themselves available to the legitimate Libyan authorities.”
– Anders Fogh Rasmussen, head of NATO, whose aerial bombing played a key role in weakening Gaddafi’s military infrastructure: “The Gaddafi regime is clearly crumbling”. It is “time to create a new Libya — a state based on freedom, not fear; democracy, not dictatorship; the will of the many, not the whims of a few.”
1012 GMT: France plans to host a meeting of world powers implicated in the Libyan conflict next week, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says, welcoming the rebel forces’ entry into Tripoli.
“We have reached the tipping point. This is a subject of great satisfaction. France took risks, calculated risks, but the cause was just,” Juppe tells reporters in Paris.
“France has proposed an extraordinary meeting of the Contact Group at the highest level from next week,” calling on the strongman’s remaining supporters to lay down their arms.
1006 GMT: The ‘Arab Spring’ led to the departure of Tunisia’s President Zine el Abidine BenAli in January followed a few weeks later by the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak but the regional uprising stalled when Muammar Gaddafi vowed to die fighting.
Will his departure after six months of struggle across Libya give renewed impetus to the movement for freedom and democracy in North Africa and the Middle East?
Yesterday embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad scoffed at Western demands that he step down and warned against any foreign intervention in Syria.
0957 GMT: LIBYAN CONTACT GROUP TO MEET IN PARIS NEXT WEEK : FRANCE
0954 GMT: “NTC (the rebel National Transitional Council) will move soon from Benghazi to Tripoli and they will appoint a new transitional government which will rule the country, which will serve the people in all cities,” London charge d’affaires Nacua says.
Speaking on the steps of the embassy, he says: “In the next few days, we may be facing some difficulties because every revolution will face some difficulties,” he says.
“Maybe some mistakes will happen but we believe that our people in NTC are capable of resolving all the problems… and we will go forward to build the promised Libya and we will have a promising relationship between the UK and a new Libya.”
0950 GMT: Mahmud Nacua’s Libya’s charge d’affaires in London, says he believes Muammar Gaddafi still in Tripoli, but promises rebel fighters will”turn over every stone to find him”.
IHe says a new transitional government will be appointed soon to rule Libya from its capital to avoid a potentially damaging power vacuum. “There will be no vacuum,” Nacua says.
0942 GMT: The Libyan rebel council’s top diplomat in London insists there will be no power vacuum in the country, saying the transitional council will move from Benghazi to Tripoli “soon”.
Charge d’affaires Mahmud Nacua says the rebels now control 95 percent of Tripoli after the dramatic push into the capital yesterday.
“There is still some pockets who support Gaddafi. Maybe there is some fighting in some areas but on the whole, our fighters control 95 percent of the city and the country,” he told reporters from the steps of the embassy.
0933 GMT: “If Gaddafi continues to incite civil war in the hours to come, he will be the only one responsible for a dramatic blood bath,” Italy’s Frattini says, calling on the rebels not to “give in to acts of revenge” and to respect “prisoners’ dignity.”
0919 GMT: More from South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: “Nobody has asked for asylum in South Africa, and as far as Johannesburg is aware, Gaddafi remains in Libya.”
“The future of Gaddafi should be decided by Libyans…,” she told reporters.
South Africa continues to talks to both parties in Libya but “as peace brokers we have got no reason to create a state within the state,” Nkoana-Mashaban said.
0917 GMT: More from China’s foreign ministry: “China is willing to work with the international community to play a constructive role in the future reconstruction of Libya.”
Chinese economic interests in Libya include oil, railway and telecoms projects.
0914 GMT: Residents in the Tripoli suburb of Gorji are tense and jumpy about today’s uncertain situation yet happy about what they see as Kadhafi’s inevitable exit, AFP’s Charles O’Nians says. They just need to get through the bloody transition.
“Gorji was the first neighbourhood that made anti-Kadhafi demonstrations, we’ve had 100 people arrested since the start of the revolution, but we haven’t had any news from them yet,” Gorji resident Abubakr Wnees tells O’Nians.
“State television said they would attack this area if we don’t give up. Kadhafi told a local sheikh (Muslim preacher) to tell people to fight in his name, but he refused and so they arrested him.”
0913 GMT: Gorji residents like Abdel Rahman Bin Jama, whose neighbourhood sheltered and treated a team of AFP journalists that came under sniper attack, want nothing else than to join the fight.
“I don’t have a weapon but we protect the neighbourhood because it’s ours. We don’t have enough weapons, but we all want weapons to get rid of the dictator. Everyone here is a fighter,” says Bin Jama.
“Even the women give us emotional support and they are so happy about what is going on now. You won’t find anyone here who supports Kadhafi.”
0911 GMT: AFP’s Charles Onians says civilians in Tripoli are exhausted after staying up most of the night, enjoying the food, drink and cigarettes that they must resist during the Ramadan days, despite the burning heat.
People in the southwestern Gorji neighbourhood, near where Kadhafi’s son Mohamed lives and was detained by rebels yesterday, told Onians they welcomed the freedom fighters when they arrived.
“The rebels from the mountains and from Zawiyah are now in Martyrs’ Square (formerly Green Square) and the surrounding streets,” said Gorji resident Saad Zaidi, who has just returned from celebrations in the centre of town.
“But there are African snipers from Chad in the Old City, and sometimes you can hear mortars falling. But we don’t know where they’re being fired from.”
0905 GMT: The International Criminal Court is seeking the transfer of Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity, the court’s spokesman tells AFP.
“The court as a whole is involved,” Fadi El-Abdallah said, answering ‘yes’ when asked if that means discussions are underway with the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) over Seif al-Islam’s transfer.
0856 GMT: More from AFP’s Charles Onians on the spot in Tripoli as Muammar Gaddafi’s regime finally crumbles after months of strife:
“The capital’s battle-scarred streets are all but empty as the sun rises on the long-dreamt of new Libya, the day after rebels made a lightning advance on the capital.
“Rebel checkpoints are sparse, indicating they have not yet taken complete control of the city, as they await the arrival of thousands more freedom fighters from already liberated parts of the country.
“The drab city’s concrete walls have been daubed with anti-Gaddafi and pro-revolutionary graffiti, demanding freedom for Libya and an end to the leader most people here consider insane.”
0850 GMT: AFP correspondent Charles Onians is in Tripoli and has described the historic and dramatic scene in the Libyan capital today:
“Tripoli residents have awoke with jubilation and fear today, asking for weapons to join rebels in their cat-and-mouse war with loyalists who have besieged the city with snipers and drive-by shootings.”
0849 GMT: World Crimes Court in talks with Libyan rebels over Gaddafi’s son: Official
0848 GMT:Muammar Gaddafi’s regime controls no more than 10-15 percent of Tripoli, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says.
“We have seen opposition to the regime advance further over the last hours and we can say that at the present time no more than 10 to 15 percent of the town is still in the hands of the regime,” Frattini tells SKY TG 24 television.
0841 GMT: China’s foreign ministry says it “respects the Libyan people’s choice” after rebels entered Tripoli and it hopes stability will return to the country rapidly.
0835 GMT: A spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says: “We seem to be witnessing the end of the Gaddafi regime. Gaddafi has to relinquish power now and avoid further bloodshed.”
0833 GMT: CHINA SAYS ‘RESPECTS LIBYAN PEOPLE’S CHOICE’ AFTER REBELS ENTER TRIPOLI
0830 GMT: GADDAFI’S REGIME CONTROLS NO MORE THAN 10-15 PERCENT OF TRIPOLI: ITALY
0831 GMT: GADDAFI REGIME APPEARS TO BE ENDING: EU’S ASHTON
0821 GMT: South Africa denies it has sent planes to Libya to evacuate Gaddafi.
Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane tells reporters: “The South Africa government would like to refute and dispell the rumours and claims that it has sent planes to Libya to fly Colonel Gaddafi and his family to an undisclosed location.”
0810 GMT: More from Mohamed Gaddafi’s interview with Al Jazeera:
“I was not part of the security or official systems of the government to know what was going on. I think that the lack of reason and wide vision led Libya to where it is now,” he said in the interview.
“Our problems were simple. They could have been solved,” he said as the crackle of gunfire, which he said was “inside” his home, interrupted his conversation.
0800 GMT: Here’s an update of the latest situation in Tripoli this morning as rebels battle for control of the Libyan capital.
-An AFP reporter says heavy fighting is raging this morning near the Muammar Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound.
-Fighting has been audible since around 0400 GMT in the south of the capital, where there have been exchanges of heavy weaponry and automatic rifle fire.
-Muammar Gaddafi’s whereabouts are unknown but one of his sons, Seif al-Islam, has been arrested while another, Mohamed, was interviewed by Al-Jazeera television cowering in his house, afraid to leave.
0738 GMT: TV reports show Libyan opposition groups hauling down the flag of the Gaddafi regime and installing another flag at the Libyan embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara. NTV television also showed opposition groups tearing down pictures of Gaddafi during the protest.
0726 GMT: The rebel advance deep into Tripoli has sent oil prices tumbling in Asian trade on prospects of Libyan oil production getting fully back on stream.
0648 GMT: The office of the British Prime Minister David Cameron has cut short a trip to Cornwall to return to London to attend a security meeting on Libya early Monday.
0645 GMT: Herve Bar, an AFP reporter in Benghazi, says Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of the Libya rebel “capital” during the night to celebrate what they believed was the imminent fall of Kadhafi. The streets are jammed with thousands of vehicles, their hazard lights flashing, as people headed for the Corniche, the Mediterranean seaside avenue that is the nerve centre of the six-month-old revolution. From the minarets of mosques, muezzins blared out their shared celebration in prayer.
0628 GMT: A diplomatic source has told AFP that Kadhafi could still be in his Bab Al-Aziziya compound in central Tripoli. Asking not to be identified, Tte source, who met the embattled strongman within the past two weeks, said: “He is still in Tripoli and could be in his residence at Bab Al-Aziziya.”
0605 GMT: In a brief telephonic interview with Al-Jazeera television broadcast Monday morning, one of Gadhafi’s sons, Mohamed, said he was holed up in his house, frightened to leave. During the broadcast the sound of intense firing could be heard, interrupting the interview. When it resumed, Kadhafi spoke with a tone of panic. Al-Jazeera gave no indication of where the house is, or even whether it is in Tripoli.
0548 GMT: An AFP reporter says heavy fighting was heard near the Gadhafi residence in central Tripoli. Fighting has also been reported in the south of the capital.
0445 GMT: An AFP reporter said the night was mainly calm in Tripoli although the sound of fighting was heard early on Monday in the south of the capital. By daybreak it was still not clear how much of the capital the rebels controlled.
0433 GMT: Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has urged Gadhafi to “get out of the way” of the rebellion sweeping his country: “Events are moving very, very quickly but it obviously appears that the rebels are in Tripoli, that the rebels are about to secure Libya overall. “We continue to call on Colonel Kadhafi to get out of the way, and of course we believe that he should face the international charges that are against him.”
0414 GMT: The Philippine government has warned its nationals in Libya to stay indoors as it arranges a ship to get them out of the country. An estimated 2,000 Filipinos, many medical workers, are still in Libya with about 1,200 in Tripoli and the surrounding suburbs.
0331 GMT: In front of the White House in WashingtonDC, Rania Swadek, a 33-year-old American-Libyan teacher, told our correspondent: “We want Gadhafi alive to put him on trial for his crimes against humanity for four decades”. Children were among those gathered with some wearing white t-shirts with the Libyan flag and “Free Libya”.
0227 GMT: AFP correspondent Stéphane Jourdain in Washington DC reports a small crowd has gathered outside the White House waving Libyan flags and singing: “Merci Sarkozy, Merci Sarkozy, thank you Obama, thank you Obama”.
0217 GMT: Obama calls on Libyan rebels to respect human rights and move to democracy. The Gadhafi regime is at a “tipping point”, he said, urging the Libyan leader to go.
0135 GMT: Witnesses have reported scenes of jubilation in Benghazi, the rebels’ bastion in the east, where delirious residents are said to be dancing in the streets and proclaiming the end of the regime of the “tyrant” Gadhafi.
0113 GMT: Mahmud Jibril, a rebel leader has called on police and security forces not to leave their posts and to keep doing their jobs, staying alert to protect the people and their property.
“Today, as we celebrate victory, I appeal to your conscience and to your responsibility: don’t get carried away. Do not avenge yourselves, don’t pillage, don’t insult foreigners and respect the prisoners.”
He took particular pains to refer to those close to Gadhafi who might be captured, including his sons and relatives. “Prove that we are up the responsibility to protect them and their lives,” he said.
0105 GMT: Libyan senior rebel leader Mahmud Jibril says there are still pockets of resistance in Tripoli from forces loyal to Gadhafi, rebel television Al-Ahrar reports.
0100 GMT: US President Barack Obama, after receiving a briefing from senior national security staffer John Brennan during his seaside vacation, told reporters: “We’re going to wait until we have full confirmation of what has happened… I’ll make a statement when we do.”
0100 GMT: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a staunch of ally of Gadhafi, has slammed Western powers for “destroying Tripoli with their bombs”. “Today we are seeing images of the democratic governments of Europe, along with the supposedly democratic government of the United States destroying Tripoli with their bombs.”
0001 GMT: Welcome to AFP’s coverage of the Libya conflict as rebels surge into the capital of Tripoli in a final drive to oust Moamer Gadhafi, seizing swathes of the capital including symbolic Green Square and arresting the strongman’s son, Seif al-Islam.
Here’s a summary of the situation so far:
– Thousands of residents poured onto the streets to welcome the rebels, congregating at the site which they renamed Martyrs Square near the water front in the centre of Tripoli.
– Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told a press conference that 1,300 people have been killed in the rebel assault on the capital, describing the fighting as a “real tragedy.”
– In The Hague, the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor confirmed that Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam, for whom the ICC had issued arrest warrants for crimes against humanity, is in detention.
– Rebels have reportedly overrun the eastern suburb of Tajura and boasted that they would seize control of the capital during the night.
– A rebel party took over an army barracks at a western entrance to Tripoli, raiding the stores of missiles and other ammunition, AFP correspondents at the scene said.
– The rebels also released dozens of prisoners held in Maya, 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Tripoli, AFP correspondents said.
– It is still not clear how much of the capital the rebels have seized, but it appears they have taken over the headquarters of the Libyana mobile telephone company, located in Tajura.
– Libyan rebel leaders said an advance party of fighters had arrived by sea in the capital early Sunday and joined sleeper cells of rebels to launch the final drive, codenamed “Mermaid.”
– Another rebel force advanced on the capital from the west, moving in a convoy of around 100 vehicles as onlookers fired celebratory gunfire into the air, an AFP correspondent said.