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Rebels overrun Gadhafi's compound; he calls retreat 'tactical'

Aug 23, 2011 9:26:00 PM - thestate.com
Even as images of gleeful rebels overrunning Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's main military compound saturated television screens Tuesday, questions still loomed over Gadhafi's whereabouts, the status of pro-regime holdouts and NATO's role in the effort to secure the country.

Early Wednesday, Gadhafi, speaking on a local Tripoli radio station, which was reported by Al-Orouba television and Reuters, said that his withdrawal from Bab al Aziziya, the dictator's main compound and a key symbol of his power, was a "tactical move." The compound had been leveled by 64 NATO air strikes, he said.

Gadhafi did not say where he was speaking from. He vowed "martyrdom" or victory in his fight against NATO.

Al-Arabiya television reported early Wednesday that forces loyal to Gadhafi were attacking the city of Ajelat, west of Tripoli, with missiles and tanks, and that dozens of missiles had hit Tripoli near Bab al Aziziya.

On Tuesday, in scenes reminiscent of the days after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, rebels looted Bab al Aziziya, clambering onto and giddily spray-painting iconic buildings and statues.

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