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Libyan rebels storm capital city

by Jorge Hernandez on August 22, 2011

The months-long struggle between Libyan rebels and the forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi appears to be coming to an end. The Associated Press reports that rebels reached the capital city of Tripoli, spurring clashes just outside Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound.

The stunning advance occurred Sunday, when rebel forces seized control of the city. The move was somewhat of a surprise as rebel and government soldiers had seemingly been locked in a stalemate for the last six months of the conflict, which broke out in early February. The rebels have been supported by NATO, which severely damaged Gadhafi's stronghold through repeated air strikes.

Although many of supporters have retreated as his regime is likely set to come to an end, Gadhafi himself was nowhere to be found. According to the AP, the feeling on the streets of Tripoli was one of jubliation, and many rebels feel that life in Libya will be much better with Gadhafi ousted from power.

"I expect Libya to be better," rebel fighter Abdel-Hakim Shugafa Shugafa told the news provider "He (Gadhafi) oppressed everything in the country – health and education. Now we can build a better Libya."

The recent developments have been lauded by President Barack Obama, who has said that he will stand by the rebels.

"The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people," Obama said in a statement from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard.

Gadhafi had been in power for more than 40 years when protests began to swell throughout the country in January. Those demonstrations, inspired by similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, came to a head in February and security forces began firing on protesters.

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