Gadhafi Masses Forces in Tripoli

Ultimate showdown looms with brigades loyal to Libyan strongman
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2011 2:26 AM CST
A Libyan popular defense committee member, holds his AK-47 as he flashes a V sign in front an anti-aircraft missile at an abandoned Libyan military base near Tobruk yesterday.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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(Newser) – A desperate Moammar Gadhafi is calling in thousands of mercenaries and any available security to quell the rebellion edging dangerously close to his door. The move almost ensures a savage and bloody showdown between armed forces and thousands of protesters determined to take control of their nation. The Libyan strongman has built up a "ruthless and loyal" force of special brigades headed by his sons, military sections loyal to his tribe and African mercenaries, reports the New York Times.

For the first time dozens of checkpoints manned by heavily armed guards have been set up on a main road into Tripoli. More cities have fallen into rebel control, but the final battle will be waged in the capital. Hundreds of protesters have been killed by Gadhafi's forces, and some 30,000 people have fled the nation into Egypt. The killing continues as witnesses said bands of security forces known as revolutionary committees hunt protesters 50 miles west of the capital. “The revolutionary committees are trying to kill everyone who is against Qaddafi,” a doctor fleeing Sabratha told the Times.

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