a hero outside a hotel in Libya’s capital, where he had apparently talked to foreign journalists.
FOX News Channel reported him saying that his father was still in the Tripoli.
Meanwhile Gaddafi’s eldest son Mohammad is also reported to have escaped from his Tripoli residence after he had been surrounded by rebel forces that had streamed into the city.
A senior rebel source confirmed the escape to AFP, saying: “Yes, it’s true, he has escaped.”
However the veteran Libyan leader’s whereabouts remains unknown. He has not been seen in public since mid-June.
The battle to take over Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli will be fierce, but anyone inside has little chance of escape, a rebel spokesman has told Al Jazeera television earlier today.
“I don’t imagine the Bab Al-Aziziyah compound will fall easily and I imagine there will be a fierce fight,” Abdel Hafiz Goga, spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council, said in an interview aired by the broadcaster.
“The rebels are forming checkpoints at the entrances of Tripoli and I do not think he (Muammar Gaddafi’s son Mohammad) would be able to escape Tripoli, and the same applies to Colonel (Muammar) Gaddafi,” he said.
Rebels say they have taken control of about 95% of the capital Tripoli and have already begun victory celebrations, after making a lightning advance on the city without meeting much resistance.
Smoke has been seen rising on the Tripoli skyline as NATO warplanes continue strikes on the capital, including on Gaddafi’scompound.
The international community called on the Libyan leader to step down and the Western Alliance has promised to maintain its air campaign until all pro-Gaddafi forces have surrendered.
Gaddafi’s huge Tripoli complex, which includes military barracks, has been targeted by NATO air strikes in recent weeks, but rebels said on Monday that it was still being defended by tanks and snipers.
Bab Al-Aziziya was the target of a 1986 US bombing of Libya. US President Ronald Reagan said it was in retaliation for what he called Libyan complicity in the bombing of a Berlin night club.
Obama urges loyalists to lay down arms
President Barack Obama urged Muammar Gaddafi to end the bloodshed in Libya as pockets of his loyalist forces engaged in fierce fighting against advancing rebels.
Reminding the United States that Gaddafi had “murdered scores of American citizens,” Obama interrupted his vacation to herald Gaddafi’s fall and urged him to limit the killing.
“Although it is clear Gaddafi’s rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms,” Obama said.
While rebels hunted for Gaddafi in Tripoli, some forces loyal to the autocratic leader were resisting.
“This is not over yet,” Obama warned in a statement from the farm where his family is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts.
Vowing the United States would be a “friend and partner” to help the emergence of a democratic Libya, Obama also cautioned rebels against exacting revenge for Gaddafi’s brutal rule.
“True justice will not come from reprisals and violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny,” Obama said.
Analysts see risks that Islamic militants with links to Al Qaeda may take advantage of instability after the crumbling of Gaddafi’s control over the country and gain a strong footing in the oil-producing nation.
Obama made plain that the United States would oppose any group within the loose coalition of rebels that has fought Gaddafi from imposing its power over other parts of Libyan society.
Fears of unrest
There have been concerns that tribal, ethnic and other divisions among the diverse armed groups opposed to Gaddafi could lead to the kind of blood-letting seen in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
However, the presence of former Gaddafi aides in the rebel camp is cited by some as cause to hope the opposition can prove more inclusive than that in Iraq.
NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who was Gaddafi’s justice minister until joining the revolt in February, told a news conference in Benghazi: “I call on all Libyans to exercise self-restraint and to respect the property and lives of others and not to resort to taking the law into their own hands.”
Western leaders reiterated their refusal to commit military forces to peacekeeping in Libya, though some governments have had civilian advisers in Benghazi for months, and the swift military advance over the weekend renewed speculation about the shadowy role of foreign special forces on the ground.
Costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have ensured leaders fight shy of another conflict, although Obama, Sarkozy and others can expect a boost in prestige from the fall of Gaddafi.