TRIPOLI (AP) — Rebels claimed a suburb near Tripoli's airport Saturday after overnight fighting and a field commander said the capital was free of Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
Residents of Qasr bin Ghashir celebrated by firing guns and anti-aircraft weapons into the air and beating portraits of the toppled leader with their shoes.
The scene in the impoverished rural area 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the capital was a sign of rebels' optimism after days of fierce fighting sent Gadhafi underground. Residents of Tripoli also have celebrated and the capital appears largely under rebel control.
Omar al-Ghuzayl, a 45-year-old rebel field commander, says his force has been able to push Gadhafi fighters "completely outside Tripoli."