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Intense Fighting in Tripoli, Gadhafi Manhunt Continues


Rebel fighters patrol the streets in a neighborhood south of the capital Tripoli on August 25, 2011. Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

5:10 p.m. ET | The United States and South Africa have reached a deal that would pave the way for $1.5 billion in frozen assets to be released. South Africa had objected to the U.N. Security Council unfreezing the money over concerns it would look like it was recognizing the Libyan Transitional National Council.

As rebels fought remaining loyalists in Tripoli, bodies were seen lying in the street and nearby sewers filled with blood, creating a hazardous situation for nearby civilians caught in chaotic battles.

3:45 p.m. ET | Rebels converged on Tripoli’s Abu Salim neighborhood, a Gadhafi holdout, where they say they may be closing in on the embattled leader and his sons. The fighting has centered around roughly 10 buildings in the area.

Gadhafi’s spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, told the Associated Press that he is still in Libya and that he will continue to lead his loyalists.

Rebels and loyalists have also been clashing in Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, one of his few remaining strongholds in the country.

11:35 p.m. ET | Fresh fighting has been reported near Gadhafi’s compound, which was captured earlier this week, as loyalists have converged on it and are clashing with rebels.

In an audio message broadcast on Libyan state television, Gadhfi said his supporters are the “sweeping majority” and called on Libyans to “fight and destroy” rebels in Tripoli.


Libyan rebels arrive at the Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli on Thursday. Photo by Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.

Libyan rebels continued to battle forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi on the streets of Tripoli Thursday, as the opposition tried to assert control over the country and as the whereabouts of the longtime leader remained unknown.

Snipers continued to pose a threat in Tripoli, as well as in Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, where the rebels are fighting an estimated 1,000 loyalists. Efforts to negotiate with leaders in Sirte over conditions of surrender have thus far been fruitless. There were also reports of fighting in Bin Jawad, where 20 rebels were ambushed and killed as they advanced toward the city.

Meantime, NATO has joined the search for Gadhafi, “providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets,” according to British Defense Secretary Liam Fox. A $2 million dollar reward is being offered for information about Gadhafi’s whereabouts, as well as amnesty for anyone who kills or captures him.

The continued fighting has posed a significant humanitarian challenge because of difficulties in transporting medical supplies, food and water. Mahmoud Jibril, head of the opposition National Transitional Council, has been seeking billions of dollars in immediate aid to help restore services in Tripoli. The United States is seeking to unfreeze $1.5 billion in assets through the U.N. Security Council, a move that South Africa has thus far refused to support because of an upcoming African Union meeting.

Late Wednesday, journalists that had been trapped in the Rixos Hotel by Gadhafi’s forces for days were finally released. Independent Television News’ John Ray discussed escaping with his colleagues on Wednesday’s NewsHour:

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Four Italian journalists that were captured Wednesday were freed after a raid on a home where they were held.

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