Something is happening in Tripoli tonight, though exactly what depends on which side you listen to:
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, a son of the ruler and a top official in his regime, insisted on Libyan state-run television that the rebels were losing every battle. His statement came hours after his father told supporters that the “traitors” and their NATO allies were lying and nearing their end.
The Gadhafis’ accounts, however, contrasted with reports from CNN reporters, witnesses and rebel officials that government forces continued to lose ground all around the North African nation and faced fresh attacks in the capital.
Faithi Baja, political affairs chief for the rebels’ Transitional National Council, said in a video statement Sunday that rebel fighters’ freshly launched operation inside Tripoli is “going easily” and that they are inching toward Gadhafi’s Bab al-Azizia compound.
“The revolution from inside Tripoli has officially started (Saturday) evening in many parts … of Tripoli, and is expected to spread to all of Tripoli,” said Jumma Ibrahim, a rebel spokesman from the western mountain region around Zintan.
“Most of the neighborhoods in Tripoli are rising up,” he said.
Heavy clashes erupted Saturday night in at least one Tripoli neighborhood, marked by intense gunfire, explosions and people screaming as they ran through the street, a resident told CNN.
Gunfire and explosions have been common in the capital, but CNN personnel on the ground for weeks report that this weekend’s fighting appears to be among the most intense yet.