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“Tonight, the momentum against the [Gadhafi] regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The [Gadhafi] regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy both urged Col. Gadhafi to step down immediately.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the Gadhafi regime is “crumbling.”

“The sooner Gadhafi realizes there is no way he can win, the better for everyone,” she said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.