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Gov't tanks resist rebels outside Gaddafi compound: report

(Xinhua)

08:37, August 23, 2011

TRIPOLI, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Government tanks Monday rolled out of the Bab al-Aziziyah compound of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in a bid to fend off rebels who already controlled most of the capital.

Many of the streets in the city center were left empty as they came under sniper shots and artillery fire, al Jazeera reported.

Although the rebels are closing in on one of Gaddafi's last bastions, they were confronted by resistance of heavily-armed troops loyal to the Libyan leader.

"There are some Gaddafi forces still putting up a fight," reported an al-Jazeera reporter from the scene.

The whereabouts of Gaddafi remained a myth but South Africa denied that it plans to give him a sanctuary.

In Johannesburg, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane dismissed reports that the country sent planes to Libya to arrange for the exit of Gaddafi.

Speaking at a press conference, she also said the Libyan leader won't seek refuge in South Africa.

But she said her government is not ready to recognize the Libyan rebel government at the moment.

The rebels stormed into Tripoli Sunday, capturing two of the Libyan leader's sons, Seif El Islam and Saadi Gaddafi, while the eldest son, Mohamed Gaddafi gave himself in.

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