|Supporters of the rebels attend a rally in Benghazi, Libya, early Aug. 21, 2011. The Libyan rebels have taken control of the Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli, the rebel-controlled Libya TV said on Saturday. Earlier, the TV said the rebels had also captured a weapon depot in the capital. (Xinhua/Mahamad Umayr)
BENGHAZI/TRIPOLI, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Libyan rebels claimed Sunday the final moment has come for the battle of Tripoli to topple Muammar Gaddafi, amid media reports of revolts in the capital against the Libyan leader.
Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice-chairman of the Benghazi-based rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), said "the zero hour has started" and rebels in Tripoli have risen up in coordination with the NTC.
According to al Jazeera, sustained automatic gun fire and a series of explosions rang out in Tripoli overnight, and the fighting inside the city triggered celebrations among some rebels and speculation Gaddafi's 41-year rule was sliding towards end.
But Gaddafi's officials insisted early Sunday the revolts had been crushed, a few hours after it began.
In an audio recording aired by the Libyan state TV, the Libyan leader said the rebels don't represent Libya, calling them "traitors."
Gaddafi's spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, told state press that a small number of rebel forces infiltrated the capital but have been dealt with and the city is safe.
He also said the West's attack on his forces was meant to take Libya's oil.
Meanwhile, Libyan rebels announced they are launching a ground attack on Tripoli in coordination with NATO airstrikes, hours after they captured the key city of Zawiya, some 50 km west of Tripoli.
Special Report: Foreign Military Intervention in Libya