Tripoli Residents Embrace Rebels March To Capital

Rebel fighters now control much of the Libyan capital Tripoli, where residents are cautiously celebrating.

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DAVID GREENE, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

As the Gadhafi regime crumbles, the Obama administration released a statement saying, quote, "Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant."

Rebels who poured into the Libyan capital are still fighting for control, and those who live in Tripoli are responding with a mix of celebration and fear.

One of them is 26-year-old Hana Mohammed, who told NPR she's been awake since heavy fighting began Saturday night.

Ms. HANA MOHAMMED: It was the most terrible night in our lives. No one could sleep. The gunshots were everywhere. Many people, they have been killed. On my street, there were six people, they died in one night.

GREENE: Last night, when it became clear rebels had the upper hand, scenes of jubilation broke out.

Ms. MOHAMMED: Dancing, singing with the flags, no one wants to sleep today because we were so happy. It was the happiest time in our life.

GREENE: Maram Wafa(ph) says there was celebrating in her neighborhood, too, just a few minutes away from Gadhafi's compound. She watched and cheered from her roof while rebels came through, but she couldn't celebrate on the streets.

Ms. MARAM WAFA: No, no, no, no. No going out in the streets - too dangerous, because the city is full of snipers and mercenaries, and you don't know where they are.

GREENE: Wafa says while she and others in Tripoli wait to celebrate openly, the mood is muted.

Ms. WAFA: Everything is pretty calm. I don't know. It's just not the real, nice calm, but the weird calm, I would say.

MONTAGNE: Resident Hana Mohammed said she feared continued fighting today.

Ms. MOHAMMED: I can hear bumping sounds, gunshots everywhere, and I'm really scared.

MONTAGNE: That's Hana Mohammed, speaking to us this morning, from Tripoli.

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