Rebels lay siege to Gaddafi compound as Nato jets strike

 
City A.M. Reporter
Libyan rebels battled on around Muammar Gaddafi's headquarters, where a son of the veteran leader had emerged overnight to confound reports of his capture and to rally cheering loyalists for a rearguard fightback.

NATO jets flew in support of the rebels, who said they were trying to break into Gaddafi's fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound. His son and presumed heir Saif al-Islam had earlier told a crowd that his father was well and still in Tripoli.

Heavy smoke drifted across the city centre and a Reuters correspondent at a government-controlled hotel near the sprawling compound heard heavy gunfire and explosions. NATO declined comment on whether it had struck Bab al-Aziziya.

"The revolutionaries are trying to get in through the Old Gate on the western side," rebel fighter Muftah Ahmad Othman told Al-Arabiya television from Tripoli. "If they're successful, the fighting will move inside the compound."

Al Jazeera said rebels had the area completely surrounded.