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TRIPOLI-Rebels from the surrounding countryside continue to pour into the capitol, swelling the number of forces there. The rebels control 80% of the city, and they have set up check points and have secured many of the buildings. Fierce fighting still continues through the streets of the city, as rebels report heavy casualties in the battle for the remainder of the capitol.
Earlier reports of the capture of Seif Islam have been proven untrue and has caused a slowing of momentum in the surge to control the city. Seif made an appearance at the hotel that is housing the foreign journalists covering the conflict. The hotel used by the journalists is still under Gadhafi’s control, as is the heavily fortified compound, Bab Azizia, at the heart of the city. Another son, Mohammed, who was captured earlier is also reported to have escaped the custody of his rebel captors.
The search continues for Gadhafi himself. His son Seif has reported that the Libyan leader is still in Tripoli. But, rebel leaders say they do not know if he is still within the borders of Libya or not. Gadhafi, who had made numerous broadcasts in the days before the invasion on his capitol is now silent. A vast majority of his statements were put out through the state television station. That station fell into rebel hands yesterday.
Elsewhere in the country, Gadhafi’s forces are retreating from Port Brega. They are moving away from the city along the coastal highway and are progressing towards Surt, the birthplace of Gadhafi. That city is still under the control of Gadhafi and the loyalist army.
A anxious world awaits the outcome of the conflict and are concerned as well with the possible aftermath of the rebel victory. Even as the war with Gadhafi’s forces raged, there have been reports of violence between the many tribes conducting the rebel effort. World leaders are uneasy over the ability of these different tribes to overcome differences and come together to rule this beleaguered country.
Leaders fear outbreaks of violence as this country of 6 million work out the distribution of wealth from the oil revenue that topped $50 billion a year before the conflict started. Also in question is the vast reserves of gold the country owns. It is estimated that the country owns well over 100 tons of gold, amassed through the years of Gadhafi’s reign.
Also, as rebels advance and take control over large arsenals of weapons, the question remains as to what happens to these huge armament caches. The world continues to watch and wonder what is next for a country that is awash with weapons and home to several tribal factions all looking for some level of control.