Updated 5:40 a.m. ET | One NATO official described the battle as “not over yet, although it’s close,” according to CNN. Late into the night rebels were seen seizing items from Gadhafi’s compound, including his golf cart and Bedouin tent.
Updated 2:20 p.m. ET | Gunfire was heard around the compound as rebels appeared to run freely, but Gadhafi’s whereabouts remain unknown.
Updated 12:50 p.m. ET | Footage posted by the BBC shows rebels overrunning the compound and climbing on the statue of a golden fist, a symbolic monument for Gadhafi.
Updated 11:35 a.m. ET | Rebel forces have entered Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya after fierce fighting outside, according to the Associated Press. A reporter saw fighters pass through the gates on Tuesday evening local time.
Moammar Gadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam is surrounded by supporters and journalists at his father’s residential complex in Tripoli. Photo by Imed Lamloum/AFP/Getty Images.
Fierce fighting raged on Tuesday between forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and rebel troops in the capital of Tripoli, two days after opposition fighters swept into the city amid street celebrations and a wave of diplomatic support from global leaders. Rebel leaders had claimed they had his son Saif al-Islam in custody, but he later appeared to rally Gadhafi supporters and said the government had “broken the back” of rebel fighters and characterized their advance into Tripoli as a trap.
“The ICC can go to hell,” said a jubilant Saif al-Islam, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
On Tuesday, the worst of the fighting appeared to be centered around government strongholds, including Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound and the Rixos Hotel, where foreign journalists are staying and where Saif al-Islam had made his appearance.
The compound appeared to have been damaged by NATO strikes, but it is heavily fortified. Both the government and the opposition say they control most of the capital. The whereabouts of Gadhafi himself remain unknown, although his son has said he is still safely within Tripoli.
Carloads of residents were seen leaving Tripoli, and local hospitals are grappling with an influx of patients and limited capability to get needed supplies. Tripoli is home to roughly 2 million people.
View our “Guide to the Gadhafis,” a look at the family tree.
Some rebel reports indicated that his son, Khamis, had been killed, but Libyan state television later showed footage they said proved he was alive. Some images, blurred in the graphic below, could not be confirmed.