LIBYAN UPRISING

Libya war: New round of fighting surrounds Gadhafi compound, airport

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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Scattered battles flared Wednesday across the Libyan capital, with pro-regime snipers cutting off the road to Tripoli's airport while other loyalist fighters launched repeated attacks on Moammar's Gadhafi's captured private compound.

(Photo: Associated Press)

While opposition fighters claimed they had most of Tripoli under control, a defiant Gadhafi vowed from hiding that he would fight on "until victory or martyrdom."

Few civilians were willing to venture outside. The streets of the city were scattered with debris, broken glass, garbage and other remnants of fighting, while rebels manned checkpoints every few hundred yards.

But intense clashes broke out in the Abu Salim neighborhood next to Gadhafi's vast Bab al-Aziziya compound. Gadhafi loyalists inside Abu Salim were also firing into the captured compound. Abu Salim is home to a notorious prison and thought to be one of the regime's final strongholds.

Rebels found no sign of Gadhafi after a battle Tuesday for Bab al-Aziziya, but rumors churned through the city about his possible whereabouts. While the conquest effectively signaled the end of the regime, the rebels know they will face pockets of stiff resistance for some time to come — and that they cannot really proclaim victory until Gadhafi is found.

One rebel official said a group of Tripoli businessmen had announced a $2 million reward for the arrest or killing of Gadhafi, but Col. Ahmed Bani, a rebel spokesman, said the rebels themselves were only offering amnesty.

"The biggest prize is to offer amnesty, not to give money," he said.

Gadhafi's foreign minister told British broadcaster Channel 4 that the longtime dictator had exhausted all his options and his rule "was over." Although it was once thought possible that Gadhafi would get safe passage out of Libya, Abdul Ati al-Obeidi said that was now unlikely.

"Now I'm not in touch with anybody, so it looks like things have passed this kind of solution," he said.

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