US: Gadhafi Preparing to Leave Libya

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United States officials say embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is planning to leave his war-torn country.

Meanwhile, thousands of foreigners are preparing to escape Tripoli as rebels get closer to the capital.

The rebels made advances this week west and south of Tripoli, isolating the capital and cutting off supply lines of Gadhafi's troops.

"(I'm) trying to protect our village, and our house and our child, and trying to fight with them, and to catch them or kill them," said rebel fighter Abdul Karim Mohamed.

U.S. officials told NBC News Friday that Gadhafi is planning to leave with his family for possible exile in Tunisia -- and may be making the escape within a few days.

As rebels move closer to the capital, they are suffering heavy casualties in a street by street battle in the key city of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli.

Meanwhile inside the capital, Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi says the government is in negotiations with rebels and wants the gunfire to stop.

"It's high time for a cease-fire," he said.

Gadhafi's government has called for a cease-fire before, but then continued to bomb towns where rebels tried to take control.

In the midst of the talking and fighting, thousands of foreigners are trapped in Tripoli, wanting to escape.

The International Organization for Migration says there's a very limited window of opportunity for an operation to evacuate the foreigners, including a large group of journalists.

--Published Aug. 19, 2011.

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