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Gaddafi's reign crumbles to its end

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Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule of Tripoli appears to be nearing an end but reports are coming in that forces loyal to Gaddafi are planning an attempt to take back the capital.

Analysts though say the fight back is likely to result in failure, spelling the end for Gaddafi.

Euphoric Libyan rebels took control of most of Tripoli in a lightning advance last night, celebrating the victory in Green Square, the symbolic heart of Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

Gadhafi's defenders quickly melted away as his 42-year rule crumbled, but the leader's whereabouts are still unknown and pockets of resistance still remain.

There are reports that forces loyal to Gadhafi have tanks near his compound and the Port area of Tripoli and they might be heading towards the City Centre of the Capital.

State television broadcast an audio message from Gadhafi last night. In it he appealed to supporters,

"You have to march to Tripoli to protect it and to purify it from the traitors in the streets,"

"How come you allow the capital to be under occupation once again, after the revolution and after the freedom? Why do the armed people, allow the mercenaries, the rats, the traitors to pave the way for occupation, in the city of Tripoli?"

Opposition fighters captured Gaddafi's son and one-time heir, Seif al-Islam, who along with his father faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.

Another son, Mohammed, is under house arrest. Mohammed, who was in charge of Libyan telecommunications, appeared on the Arabic satellite channel h Al Jazeera saying his house was surrounded by armed rebels.

In Green Square the rebels set fire to the green flag of Gaddafi's regime and shot holes in a poster with the leader's image.

The startling rebel breakthrough, after a long deadlock in Libya's 6-month-old civil war, was the culmination of a closely coordinated plan by rebels, NATO and anti-Gaddafi residents inside Tripoli.

The seizure of Green Square held profound symbolic value - the plaza was the scene of pro-Gaddafi rallies organised by the regime almost every night.

Gaddafi is the Arab world's longest-ruling, most erratic leader - presiding for more than four decades over this North African desert nation with vast oil reserves and a population of just 6 million people. It would now seem though that his reign has finally come to and end.