Western-backed Libyan rebels succeeded in taking Tripoli’s central Green Square early Monday morning.
The rebels, waving opposition flags and jubilantly firing guns into the air, were greeted by local residents who, according to media reports, poured into the streets to celebrate and greet the rebel fighters.
After securing control of the main square, the rebels announced the restoration of its original name, Martyrs’ Square.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court confirmed earlier reports that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, one of the sons of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, had been captured by rebel forces.
There had also been reports that the Libyan dictator’s eldest son, Mohammed, and the presidential guard had surrendered but that Gadhafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound was still under the control of the regime.
Mohammed Gadhafi spoke to al-Jazeera television early Monday morning and confirmed that he had been captured and was being held under house arrest.
It was reported on Sunday that the rebels had launched a daring mission to penetrate the capital city of Tripoli, which until Saturday night had been considered Moammar Gadhafi’s last stronghold.
An advance party “from Misrata reached Tripoli this dawn by sea and joined the Tripoli rebels,” said Abdullah Melitan, a spokesman for the insurgents.
Watching his 42-year reign crumble as rebels supported by NATO warplanes advanced on the capital, Gadhafi promised to stay in Tripoli “until the end.”
In an audio message broadcast on Libyan state television, Gadhafi called on his supporters around the country to help liberate the capital from the Western-backed rebel offensive.
“The time is now to fight for your politics, your oil, your land,” al-Arabiya quoted Gadhafi as having said.
“I am with you in Tripoli – together until the ends of the earth.”
Libyan information ministry spokesman Moussa Ibrahim has also insisted that Gadhafi’s forces would stand and fight, being quoted by the British Guardian as saying, “We are still very strong. We have thousands and thousands of fighters who have nowhere to go but to fight.”
The rebels, meanwhile, have reportedly said they would halt their offensive if Gadhafi announces his departure and added that they would give Gadhafi and his sons safe passage out of the country.