TRIPOLI, Libya -- Intense clashes erupted Wednesday between Libyan rebels and regime loyalists in a neighborhood next to Moammar Gadhafi's compound that was stormed by opposition forces a day earlier. The road to Tripoli's airport was closed by fire from pro-government snipers, according to Associated Press reporters at the scene.
The rebels claim they have now taken control of nearly all of Tripoli, but Gadhafi loyalists fired shells and assault rifles at fighters who had captured the Libyan leader's personal Bab al-Azizya compound one day earlier.
The latest fighting was centered in the neighborhood of Abu Salim, adjacent to the compound and home to a notorious prison. Abu Salim is thought to be one of the last remaining regime strongholds within the capital.
The rebel fighters are now using Bab al-Aziziya as staging area for their operations, loading huge trucks with ammunition and discussing where they need to deploy.
About 20 rebels were taking cover behind a wall of the compound and firing rifles and rocket-propelled grenades toward Gadhafi's snipers in tall buildings in nearby Abu Salim. They came under heavy incoming fire.
"There are also civilians in those buildings who support Gadhafi and they too are firing on us," said Mohammed Amin, a rebel fighter.
He said the rebels have been unable to push into Abu Salim but have surrounded it. Amin added that one rebel was killed in the area when they took up positions in the morning and four were kidnapped by Gadhafi troops while on patrol nearby.
The rebels claim they control the Tripoli airport but are still clashing with Gadhafi forces around it. AP reporters said the road leading to the airport is closed because of heavy fire from regime snipers.
Khalil Mabrouk, a 37-year-old rebel fighter, said he had just come from the airport and the rebels have been inside since Monday. Most of the immediate area in the airport was cleared of Gadhafi troops, he said. But south of it, Gadhafi's forces are firing rockets and shelling rebel positions inside the airport.
A defiant Gadhafi vowed to fight on "until victory or martyrdom," in an audio message overnight. Even as his 42-year-old regime was crumbling around him, Gadhafi vowed not to surrender. He urged 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.
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 Seyf al-Nasr, the Libyan opposition's new ambassador to France. He said that Tripoli is "secure and our guys are checking all the areas."
The deputy rebel chief, Mahmoud Jibril, was to meet later Wednesday with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of the Libyan opposition, along with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Rebels stormed Gadhafi's compound Tuesday but found no sign of the longtime leader. But it effectively signaled the end of the regime, even though the opposition may face pockets of stiff resistance for some time to come. And rebels know they cannot really proclaim victory until Gadhafi is found.
On Wednesday morning, rebel fighters said they controlled most of Bab al-Aziziya but not all of it.
Al Jazeera has exclusive video of Libyan rebels ambushing Gaddafi loyalists at a checkpoint. According to the news outlet, "this Al Jazeera Exclusive footage gives an inside view of the struggle as the fighters push towards Sirte, the last stronghold of Gaddafi."
Video below (via Al Jazeera):
Muneer Masoud Own, 33, who made a living doing manual labor, said forces loyal to longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi slaughtered nearly 150 prisoners as rebels closed in on Tripoli last week.
Charred bodies littered the ground around a warehouse -- roughly 30 feet by 45 feet -- where the detainees were kept. A volunteer who helped remove them, Bashir Own, estimated that he had seen about 150 bodies. He is not related to Muneer Own, who said he barely escaped an ordeal that started about a month ago.
Dozens of Libyans perform the last late afternoon prayer of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at Freedom Square in the eastern Libyan port city of Benghazi on August 29, 2011.
Libya rebels claim to have "almost certain information" that Gaddafi's intelligence chief was killed.
|@ Reuters : FLASH: Libya rebels have "almost certain information" that Gaddafi intelligence chief killed on Sat. -Spokesman tells al-Arabiya TV|
Al Jazeera's James Bays filed a dazzling report from Libya on the situation of African migrants in the embattled country. Migrants claim to be assaulted and are locked up in prisons until rebel fighters made sure they did not work as mercenaries for the Gaddafi regime.
Watch Bays' report here:
The rebel commander in Tripoli Al Mahdi Al Haraqi told Reuters that he had confirmation that Khamis Gaddafi has been killed in a clash near Ben Walid.
He was taken to a hospital but died of his wounds and was buried in the area, Al-Haragi said, without giving the timing. No independent confirmation of the death was available.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the United States could not yet independently confirm Khamis' death but said similar information was being received in Washington from "reliable sources."
Rebels claimed twice before Khamis Gaddafi was killed.
Libya's National Transitional Council reacted strongly on the message that relatives of Gaddafi would have arrived in Algeria, Reuters reports.
A spokesperson for the NTC said it considers sheltering members of Gaddafi's family an act of aggression.
"We have promised to provide a just trial to all those criminals and therefore we consider this an act of aggression," spokesman Mahmoud Shamman told Reuters.
"We are warning anybody not to shelter Gaddafi and his sons. We are going after them in any place to find them and arrest them," he said.
A rebel commander in Tripoli claims Gaddafi's son Khamis has been killed in clashes in southern Libya.
Khamis was claimed killed twice before.
|@ Reuters : FLASH: Gaddafi's son Khamis killed in clashes in southern Libya -Rebel commander in Tripoli|
AFP reports Italian energy company ENI reached an agreement with the Libyan National Transitional Council to take up gas supplies to Italy.
Libyan rebels they seek the extradition of Gaddafi's family members who fled to Algeria.
|@ Reuters : FLASH: Libya rebels say will seek extradition of Gaddafi family from Algeria|
Rebel commanders say Khamis Gaddafi, one of Colonel Gaddafi's most feared sons, has been killed in an air strike south of Tripoli.
Algeria confirms two of Gaddafi's sons, his daughter Aicha and his wife are in the country.
|@ Reuters : FLASH: Algeria confirms two of Gaddafi's sons, wife and daughter are in the country - Al-Jazeera TV|
Reuters reports Khamis Gaddafi, the Colonel's infamous ... son, may be next to be places on the ICC's most wanted list. The International Criminal Court earlier approved warrants for Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam.
ICC prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo told Reuters in an interview that "Khamis should also be prosecuted because Khamis was the commander of the brigade that was more active on some of the crimes."
Official reportedly confirm three of Gaddafi's sons, his daughter and wife have arrived in Algeria.
From the Associated Press:
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The chairman of the African Union says Libyan rebels may be indiscriminately killing black people in Libya because they have confused innocent migrant workers with mercenaries.
Chairman Jean Ping told reporters Monday that this is one of the reasons the AU is refusing to recognize the National Transitional Council as the country's interim government.
He said "We need clarification because the NTC seems to confuse black people with mercenaries .... They are killing normal workers."
Libya's rebel National Transitional Council appears to have secured Libya's capital after a week of fierce fighting with loyalists to Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
He said there was no doubt the council now controlled the capital city and called on both sides to "stop the killing."
Libyan rebels captured Gaddafi's personal 'Afriqiyah Airbus' in Tripoli.
Libyan rebels leave Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's 'Afriqiyah One' Airbus A340 plane at Tripoli airport on August 29, 2011.
The tribe of Abdel Fattah Younes said it will take justice into their own hands if rebel leaders do not identify the commander's killers, Reuters reports. "After Eid, that is the final deadline," Tarek, one of Younes' sons said in an interview with Reuters.
Abdel Fattah Younes was killed on July 28 after he was summoned by rebel leaders for questioning. Libyan authorities identified two people who allegedly carried out the assassination, but head of the NTC Mustafa Abdel Jalil had told reporters on Wednesday the suspected killers would be arrested "when the higher interests of this revolution will not be damaged."
Al Jazeera reporters in Tripoli said rebels have surrounded Gaddafi's hometown Sirte. The main push in the battle for Sirte is expected to come from the east, the channel reports.
Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid reported from the eastern front near Sirte that rebels are holding off attacks, as they want to give tribal leaders in the city time to negotiations.
Andrew Simons, on the western front near the city, reported small fights between rebels and Gaddafi loyalists.
On Monday, NATO intensified airstrikes on Sirte.
The rebel flag waving over the Libyan embassy in Moscow.
A leaked United Nations report proposes elections in Libya within nine months, Al Jazeera reports. The UN would be looking to send a small contingent of 'Blue Barrets' to the country, if requested by the Libyan authorities and authorized by the Security Council.
"If requested by the Libyans and authorized by the Council, the UN could contribute to confidence-building and to the implementation of agreed military tasks, through unarmed UN military observer (UNMOs)," Al Jazeera quotes the document.
Read more on Al Jazeera.
France reopened its embassy in Libya, a spokesperson for the French foreign ministry said. France had closed the embassy six months ago.
Libyan rebels asked NATO to keep up pressure on the Gaddafi regime. The Associated Press reports NTC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil told a NATO delegation that former regime supporters who are now in hiding could still cause trouble.
"Gaddafi is still capable is doing something awful in the last moments," Abdul-Jalil said.
Tyler Hicks, photographer for the New York Times, found what seems to be a photo album from the Gaddafi family.
Watch the album on the NYTimes Lens Blog Website
Internet has returned in many areas in Tripoli.
|@ feb17voices : LPC #Tripoli: Internet has returned in many areas of the city. #Libya|
CNN correspondent in Libya Nic Robertson reports the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Basset al Megrahi, is comatose and nearing death.
Read Robertson's full report on the CNN website.
The National Transitional Council announced earlier it will not extradite the Libyan.
CNN's report contradicts statements made earlier by a cancer specialist, who said Abdel Basset al Megrahi was in good health and could live for years.
Libya's National Transitional Council will not extradite the Lockerbie bomber
|@ Reuters : Minister in National Transitional Council says Libya will not extradite Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi|
An Iranian newspaper wrote on Sunday that foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi claimed Iran "discreetly" provided humanitarian aid to rebels in Libya.
According to AFP the minister told the newspaper that Iran was "in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Gaddafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi."
The minister also said the head of the NTC sent a letter to Teheran, thanking Iranian president Ahmedinejad for his help.
AFP reports Libyan rebels have freed more than 10,000 prisoners since they captured Tripoli. 50,000 prisoners would still be missing.
Ahmed Omar Bani, a spokesperson for the rebels, told reporters during a press conference that between 57,000 and 60,000 people have been arrested over the past months.
Libyan rebels declined an offer by Muammar Gaddafi to negotiate, saying they do not recognize him and are looking for Gaddafi as a criminal.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Gaddafi had offered the rebels by phone to start talks lead by Gaddafi's son Saadi.
Mahmoud Shamman, the NTC's information minister said in a news conference:
"I would like to state very clearly, we don't recognize them. We are looking at them as criminals. We are going to arrest them very soon .. Talking about negotiations is a daydream for what remains of the dictatorship."
Al Jazeera English has more on the latest overtures from the Gaddafi camp:
Moussa Ibrahim, the spokesperson for Muammar Gaddafi, has reportedly told the Associated Press news agency that the Libyan leader is ready to negotiate with the rebels to form a transitional government.
Ibrahim called AP headquarters in New York late on Saturday, and told them he was calling from Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and that Gaddafi was still in Libya.