Libyan rebels now control the fortified Bab al-Aziziyah compound the former stronghold of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The anti-Gaddafi forces swarmed over the compound’s buildings firing in the air in celebration and raising the rebel flag.
One tore a poster of Gaddafi in half for the benefit of foreign TV cameras, while others tried to pull down a statue of a hand crushing a fighter jet that has provided the backdrop to many of Gaddafi’s sometimes eccentric speeches.
Some fighters paraded around in the golf cart that Gaddafi drove around in and from which he gave defiant speeches back in February.
The whereabouts of Gaddafi and his sons remain unknown, but according to a Russian official who spoke to the colonel by phone, he is in the capital and has again said he will fight to the end.
The compound had been under siege by rebel fighters backed by NATO aircraft for most of the day and black plumes of smoke rose up from it the capital Tripoli.
Reports suggest that forces loyal to Gaddafi are gradually ending their resistance as the rebels sense the end of the colonel’s four-decade rule.
It is believed that those who remain loyal to Gaddafi have moved to Sirte, his hometown, it is unknown if they plan a last stand.
As the rebels consolidate their hold on Beb al-Aziziyah the hunt for Gaddafi begins in earnest.
The compound is believed to sit atop a network of tunnels and bunkers that lead to adjoining districts, including possibly a subterranean route to the coast through which he could have escaped.
Libya’s UN envoy Ibrahim Dabbashi Gaddafi’s stronghold is “totally in the hands of the revolutionaries,” Dabbashi declared that Gaddafi’s government “has already fallen,” he predicted the city of Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, would fall within the next 48 hours and that the entire country would be under rebel control within three days.
“We expect Libya to be totally liberated and totally calm and peaceful within the next 72 hours.”
The international community is already at work freeing up Libyan assests which were blocked as part of the sanctions slapped on the Gaddafi regime.
The global community will be keen to stabilise the country in hope that the oil producer does not fall into post conflict chaos.
Gaddafi's fortress falls as rebels take control