The assault on a barracks of the elite Khamis brigade, commanded by a Gaddafi son, has sparked one of the fiercest firefights since the taking of Tripoli.
Friday had been quieter after 48 hours of bloodshed in intense fighting between rebel and Gaddafi forces. Until this.
Our correspondent Jamel Ezzedini reported: ‘Heavy fighting is taking place here near al Yarmuk, a base for the al Khamis. Rebels are trying to take over the camp, which is still held by the Gaddafi forces. If this battle is won all Tripoli will be controlled by the rebels.”
Ammunition for heavy weapons was taken away once the camp walls were breached but the rebel government forces would not savour their victory for long.
The army came back at them hard. They were forced to retreat and regroup.
The fighting has been merciless over the last 48 hours, and there would be no let-up. With re-enforcements gathered the rebels returned to the fray.
As always, despite the speed of their initial advance, they went carefully, looking for snipers as they moved to another compound.
Every now and then fighters got together to talk tactics and check on their progress.
Every shot could mean another life taken. And many have been. The fighting has been intense and there are reports of savagery on both sides as the bitterest of enemies find themselves face to face at last.
Gaddafi withdrew the Khamis after it attacked Bengazhi. No-one from there has forgotten it. All who are taking on the hardcore Gaddafi supporters have a grievance that outweighs their rudimentary weaponry and lack of training.
There have been reports of the killing of prisoners from both sides, with 150 reportedly blown up with hand grenades by forces fleeing Gaddafi’s presidential compound.
Few expect the fighting to end until the fugitive dictator is tried or killed.
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