Libya rebels storm Tripoli's Abu Salim district

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2011 2:31 PM
Libya rebels storm Tripoli's Abu Salim district

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan rebels stormed Tripoli's Abu Salim district, one of the main holdouts of forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in the capital, on Thursday after NATO airstrikes on a building in the area, a Reuters correspondent said.

Thousands of rebel fighters were sweeping through houses and sidestreets to flush out snipers and were emerging with dozens of prisoners, the correspondent said, adding that gunfights were ongoing.

Local residents, some with children, were in cars trying to get out of the area, a poor neighborhood where support for Gaddafi has traditionally been strong, as the rebels poured in.

Rebels drove two pickup trucks with captured pro-Gaddafi forces in the back away from the scene.

There were two air strikes, apparently targeting a fire station. The building was wrecked.

Reuters journalists who moved in after the strike saw two bodies and one seriously wounded man. On the floor of the fire station was a NATO bomb which had failed to explode.

Many buildings were on fire. The pro-Gaddafi forces appeared to have no heavy weapons, just snipers in buildings. (Reporting by Yvonne Bell; writing by Richard Valdmanis)