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Moammar Gadhafi urges Libyans to 'destroy' rebels
Moammar Gadhafi calls on Libyans to "destroy" rebels as battles rage in Tripoli
By The Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) ' Moammar Gadhafi has called on Libyans to "destroy" the rebels who have overtaken Tripoli forced his regime into hiding. The appeal comes as intense fighting has erupted in the Libyan capital.

The maverick leader made the plea Thursday in a brief audio statement broadcast on Al-Arabiya and other Arab stations.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) ' An intense battle has erupted between about 1,000 rebels surrounding two buildings filled with Moammar Gadhafi loyalists in the neighborhood next to the Libyan leader's captured compound.

Associated Press reporters on the scene Thursday said rebels were hammering the buildings with heavy gunfire and a huge explosion from the battle scene sent a large plume of white smoke.

Mahmoud Bakoush, a rebel commander at the site, says there are rumors that one of Gadhafi's sons might be in the buildings, but they are unconfirmed.

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