Report: NATO Forces Bomb Gadhafi's Tripoli Compound, as Libya Rebels Surround Gates

Heavy fighting rages around Libyan leader's fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound; smoke billows over the area.

Libyan rebel fighters surrounded Muammar Gadhafi's fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli on Tuesday and some entered one of its outer gates, an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

Moreover, Al Jazeera correspondent told Reuters that NATO forces began bombarding Gadhafi's Bab Al-Aziziya compound in the Libyan capital.

Gadhafi compound - AP - August 23, 2011

Heavy fighting raged around Gadhafi's fortified compound, a Reuters correspondent said.
Columns of grey smoke billowed over the area and gunfire and occasional explosions rang out, he said.

"We hope this over soon. I fear that the violence will continue until Gadhafi and his family have left the country," said one bystander, Omar, an unemployed engineer.

An unnamed man added: "Gadhafi is finished, even if some snipers and mercenaries are still resisting. But there is no doubt that we are free and Gadhafi is finished."

Fighting could also be heard near the hotel housing foreign journalists.

Heavy artillery fire could be heard since mid-morning in the vicinity of the Rixos hotel.
It was not clear how close the fighting was but some it seemed to be crossing the area and had shaken the hotel, a Reuters reporter in the hotel said.

Journalists had been told by Libyans present at the hotel that it was surrounded by thousands of soldiers, she said.

Shops in the capital were closed, with rubbish piled up in the streets, the walls daubed with pro-rebel graffiti and the red, green and black rebel flags flew from several buildings. Groups of men and boys hung around shouting rebel slogans.