The Battle For Tripoli Begins

In the last few hours, news outlets and Twitter have been abuzz with reports of fighting around Tripoli. The Libyan rebel council is claiming that “zero hour” has started and a major offensive to take the city is beginning. Thousands gathered in Benghazi late into the night to voice their support for the rebels. This is the first time there has been significant fighting in Tripoli since the start of the civil war six months ago. At present, it is unclear if rebel forces are attacking from outside the city or if the fighting is from rebel guerrilla units inside the capitol. However, one rebel commander is claiming that the rebels are attacking the capitol with the support from NATO aircraft. The fighting is occuring just days after the anti-Gaddafi forces took the cities of Az Zawiyah and Zlitan. The loss of these cities (which lay just to the west and east of the capitol, respectively) put rebel forces within striking distance of Gaddafi and his regime.

Want the latest news on events in Tripoli? Be sure to follow the Twitter hashtags #Tripoli and #Libya, watch Al Jazeera English for free online, and of course, read UN Dispatch.

UPDATE: Al Jazeera English is reporting that rebel units are planning a major attack on the capitol for Sunday morning, just a few hours from now.