Fierce fighting outside Gaddafi's compound: AFP

AFP , Tuesday 23 Aug 2011

Libyan rebels launch a massive offensive on strongman Muammer Gaddafi's sprawling Bab al-Azizya residence in Tripol

Rebel fighters had warned earlier they would imminently mount an attack backed by captured tanks on the compound, in the centre of the capital.

The sound of the fighting was the most intense heard in the city since rebels arrived three days ago.

The sky was filled with the sound of heavy and light machine guns as well as mortars, with the overhead roar of NATO jets that have been carrying out much more intense air raids than in recent days.

Even two kilometres (about a mile) from the fighting, the almost constant whistle of falling bullets could be hear from the rooftops, as the city's mosques chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is the great).

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