- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 2011

Libyan rebels captured Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s second-oldest son, and another son surrendered Sunday after the rebels stormed Tripoli, sparking massive celebrations in the Libyan capital.

Tripoli was rife with rumors of Col. Gadhafi’s fate. There was speculation that the Libyan dictator had been shot, captured or escaped to Algeria.

Rebel leaders told The Washington Times that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, 39, was captured as the capital began to fall into the hands of the rebels after a six-month uprising to topple Col. Gadhafi and end his 42-year reign.

Seif Gadhafi was Col. Gadhafi’s one-time heir apparent and frequently acted in a diplomatic role for the regime. Sources had no further details about the surrender of his older brother, Mohammed Gadhafi.

The capture of Seif Gadhafi piqued the interest of The Hague-based International Criminal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for Seif Gadhafi in June on charges of crimes against humanity. Similar warrants were issued for Col. Gadhafi and Abdullah Senussi, his brother-in-law and intelligence chief.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said the court will hold talks with the rebels on Monday on transferring Seif Gadhafi to its custody.

“We’ll discuss tomorrow the transition of authority, how to manage to surrender him,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo told CNN.

As the rebels gained ground in Tripoli, celebrations broke out in the capital and across Libya, including in the rebels’ de facto capital of Benghazi in the east and Misrata in the west.

“The celebrations are wild. Everyone is just so happy and relieved,” said Mohamed, a rebel spokesman from Misrata who gave only his first name.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride, but wow! We gave it our all for our people and our country,” he added.

The speed of the rebels’ advance even took them by surprise.

Gadhafi’s troops just melted away. They left their uniforms in the streets and slipped into civilian gear,” said Mohamed, the rebel spokesman. “We were very surprised by the little resistance. It remains to be seen if Gadhafi has anything up his sleeve, but I think it is over.”

Rebels said members of Col. Gadhafi’s presidential guard had surrendered.

The rebels, meanwhile, were preparing to deliver urgently needed food, medicines and fuel to Tripoli, where residents have endured crippling shortages for several months. Security in the city was of utmost concern.

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