Libyans have been celebrating what many say is a new dawn in cities symbolising the revolt against their country’s discredited leader Muammar Gadaffi.
This was after rebel forces had closed in on his former strongholds.
“Thank God,” said an ordinary resident weeping with joy in Benghazi. “This is a blessing. People’s blood has not been spilt in vain.”
In the emotional firestorm, another said: “This is the historic moment we have waited for. This is the consolation for our martyrs. This is the day we can rejoice and remember them.”
A diplomatic source in Paris said underground rebel cells in Libya’s cities had been following plans drawn up months ago. The signal was “iftar” — the moment when Muslims observing the holy period of Ramadan break their daily fast.