Anti-regime protesters in Libya successfully pushed back dictator Muammar Qaddafi's troops on Thursday, seizing control of cities near the capital. Opposition forces are now planning to take Tripoli.
The military is preparing to fight back an assault Friday, and has been moving armed soldiers, many of them hred mercenaries, into the city since early morning.
Many former government officials and military leaders have switched to the anti-regime side, and are helping to coordinate anti-Qaddafi activity in cities such as Benghazi and Al-Zawiyah. One leader of the protest movement predicted that it is "only a matter of days" until Tripoli falls.
Qaddafi has vowed to fight to the death against his opponents. In his most recent appeal to the citizens of Libya, he claimed protesters against his government were working with Al-Qaeda, and were on drugs.
Protesters in Al-Zawiyah, just 30 miles from Tripoli, said Qaddafi’s forces had massacred demonstrators in a mosque, opening fire on worshipers and killing up to 100.
Qaddafi is facing increasing pressure from abroad as well. The European Union and the United States are considering sanctions over his refusal to stop attacks on demonstrators. The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to discuss the situation on Friday afternoon.