Libyan rebels have this afternoon laid siege on a cluster of apartment buildings in Tripoli where, they suspect, Muammar Gaddafi and some of his sons may be hiding, Reuters reported.

The agency said fierce fire is being exchanged between Gaddafi loyalists and the rebels.

"They are together, they are in a small hole. Today we finish, today we will end it, rebel fighter Muhammed Gomaa was quoted as saying.

The apartments are close to the Gaddafi compound which was overrun by the rebels two days ago.

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