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Gaddafi's regime in final 'death throes'.

Byline: CERI WILLIAMS

REBELS fought their way into Muammar Gaddafi's heavily fortified compound last night as the Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Libyan dictator's regime was in its "death throes". There were scenes of jubilation in the Libyan capital Tripoli, with rebel soldiers firing their guns in the air after reportedly breaking right through to the dictator's inner sanctum.

In the wake of fierce gun battles with forces loyal to the 69-year-old dictator, the rebel soldiers poured through the green gates of the Bab al-Aziziya complex which had been heavily damaged by Nato airstrikes.

There was still no sign of Gaddafi himself or members of his family, but there was speculation he may have been inside.

"This is not yet an ordered or secure situation in Tripoli or other parts of Libya. It's not over yet but we are in the death throes here of a despicable regime.

There is a lesson here for others in the world that once a critical mass of people of a country set out to achieve change or bring democracy to their country, then attempts to repress that by violence will not permanently succeed," Mr Hague said.

The dictator is understood to have lost control of 80% of the Libyan capital as his base was stormed by rebel fighters.

But claims that his 39-year-old son and heir apparent Saif al-Islam had been captured seemed premature when he arrived at Tripoli's loyalist-held Hotel Rixos to tell supporters that the regime's forces had "broken the backbone" of the rebel offensive.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi's eldest son Mohammed was also missing after reportedly escaping from house arrest on Monday.

The UK Government moved to play down hopes of a quick resolution to the conflict but insisted Gaddafi's time was up.

Prime Minister David Cameron, despite criticism from Labour, returned to his family holiday in Cornwall, leaving Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to chair a meeting of the National Security Council in London.

Mr Clegg said later that the emergence of Saif did not represent "some great comeback" for the Gaddafi regime.

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Title Annotation:News; Front Page
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:6LIBY
Date:Aug 24, 2011
Words:360
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