Rebels Work to Secure Gains, Hunt Gadhafi

BY News Desk  August 24, 2011 at 8:15 AM EST

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

5:15 p.m. ET | Rebels have offered a $2 million reward for anyone who tracks Gadhafi’s location. Anyone who captures or even kills him would be offered amnesty.

Sniper fire and other attacks by Gadhafi loyalists continued, and Tripoli residents have been largely staying in their homes to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

2:40 p.m. ET | Journalists working for the Italian publications Corriere della Sera, La Stampa and Avvenire were reportedly kidnapped in Zawiya, according to the Italian foreign ministry. Their driver is believed to have been killed.

1:30 p.m. ET | British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have invited rebel leaders to Paris for meetings beginning on Sept. 1 on how to address a transition to governing Libya.

Amid continued fighting against government troops in parts of Tripoli, rebels also moved toward Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown, where he still has support.

The United States is preparing to ask the U.N. Security Council to unfreeze $1.5 billion in assets for much-needed humanitarian supplies.

12:25 p.m. ET | Fighting flared up again in parts of Tripoli, including at the Gadhafi compound captured by rebels Tuesday and on the road leading to the city’s airport. Rebels have checkpoints throughout Tripoli and say they still control most of the city.

10:55 a.m. ET | Journalists were allowed to leave the Rixos Hotel after being trapped for several days under the control of Gadhafi’s troops. CNN’s Matthew Chance, who had been staying at the hotel, wrote in a tweet that “all journalists are out.”

Rebels and their supporters celebrate outside Libyan leader Moammar Gadhfai’s heavily damaged Bab al-Azizya compound in the centre of Tripoli on Wednesday. Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

8:30 a.m. ET | Despite most of Tripoli believed to be in rebel control, Moammar Gadhafi broadcast a defiant message Wednesday calling for “martyrdom or victory,” one day after his Bab al-Aziziya compound was overrun by opposition fighters. Gadhafi’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Rebel fighters were fighting to control the road to the city’s international airport and consolidate their gains amid pockets of resistance from government troops. According to a spokesman, four rebel fighters were found executed near the airport. At least seven mortars were launched into the compound by government troops after the rebels took control.

Outside of Tripoli, Gadhafi still has sizable support in the cities of Sirte and Sebha, where fighting has been reported this week.

The rebels’ leadership body, the National Transitional Council, began preparing to move from its headquarters in Benghazi to Tripoli. Mahmoud Jibril, the NTC’s deputy chief, was planning for meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Libyan embassies abroad have seen growing defections as it becomes more apparent that Gadhafi is on the brink of losing his four-decade hold on power.

Gunfire was also heard Wednesday at the Rixos Hotel, where a number of foreign journalists are housed. Gadhafi’s troops still control the area surrounding the hotel.

The NTC is seeking billions in frozen Libyan funds to help the transition process and to repair infrastructure. There is also a considerable need for medical supplies in Libya, particularly in Tripoli’s already strained hospitals.

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