A member of Libya’s opposition in Benghazi said that rebel groups had made major advances in the capital, Tripoli, on Saturday evening.
The rebels, he said, fought for towns on either side of the capital, with clashes crossing over the Tunisian border. According to reports, the Tripoli airport was captured by rebels, but airport security officials denied the claims.
The head of political affairs at the National Transitional Council, Fathi Baja, said rebels were edging closer to areas still under Qaddafi rule. According to Mr. Baja, rebels released inmates from a prison south of Tripoli.
"There is concrete information that tells us forces loyal to Gaddafi withdrew and left their weapons behind in areas outside Tripoli. And I think everything is in order in Tripoli, they (rebels) are approaching al-Sareem Street near Bab al-Azizia (complex). Gaddafi could flee if he manages to co-ordinate it with some countries but we hope to arrest him and his sons so they are tried here in Libya," said Mr. Baja.
In addition, he verified the defection of members of Mr. Qaddafi’s regime, including a former deputy to the Libyan leader, Abdel Salam Jalloud.
"Jalloud has defected from Gaddafi's regime. We usually say that we support any politician or official who plays a part in isolating the Gaddafi regime and to break up his inner circle. We welcome his announcement, albeit coming at a late stage. We welcome this step; there is a difference between escaping and defecting from Gaddafi's regime and rewards," said Mr. Baja.
Libya’s oil chief, Omran Abukraa, also joins the list of defectors, the third in a week. According to Tunisian officials, he has Libya and has said he is not returning.
Fathi Baja - head of political affairs at NTC