Gaddafi 'seeks refuge in Arab countries'
Cairo - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is seeking refuge in Arab countries and has sent a message to governments of Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria to receive his family, a Libyan dissident said in remarks published on Friday.
Representative of the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) in Cairo Abdel Monem al-Houni told the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat: "Gaddafi is looking for a safe haven for his family in the case that Tripoli falls into the hands of the revolutionaries."
Al-Houni served as Gaddafi's chief delegate to the Arab League before defecting and taking sides with the rebels.
He said that the rebels could arrive on the outskirts of Tripoli within hours as they had tightened their grip on the strategic town of Zawiya, 40km west of the Libyan capital.
"The Gaddafi regime has few days before it breathes its last," said al-Houni.
Over the past weeks, rebel fighters have been making military progress in their six-month campaign to oust Gaddafi who has been in power for 42 years.
The head of the TNC, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, said on Thursday that a final victory over Gaddafi was "on the horizon."
On Thursday, the Libyan government called for an immediate ceasefire and talks, but continued to reject calls for Gaddafi to leave power.
Al-Houni's remarks come after the US broadcaster NBC had reported late on Thursday that Gaddafi was preparing to leave Libya. NBC cited unnamed US intelligence officials as saying Gaddafi and his family could be leaving for Tunisia within days.