Libyan rebels say they have launched an attack on Tripoli, piling more pressure onto Muammar Gaddafi’s 41 year rule.
Gunfire and explosions could be heard in the capital on Saturday night, as the opposition moved closer.
Tripoli is being approached from both sides. Zawiyah, just 50 kilometres to the west, and Zlitan, 160 kilometres to the east, are both under rebel control.
Nevertheless, Gaddafi supporters say there is nothing to worry about in Tripoli. Information Minister Moussa Ibrahim appeared on state television to say Gaddafi is still the leader and the capital is well-defended.
“Yes, some militia have infiltrated two or three neighbourhoods, but they were faced by strong resistance, and the fighting was over in 30 minutes,” he said.
It is the first time pro-Gaddafi forces have admitted to fighting in the capital.
The opposition took Zawiyah on Friday, cutting off the government’s troops’ supply line between Tunisia and Tripoli. In taking control of the city’s refinery, the rebels have also cut off access to fuel.