Rebel fighters claim to have cornered Colonel Gaddafi in a secret tunnel near the dictator’s compound in Tripoli

"They are together. They are in a small hole," said Muhammad Gomaa, one of the fighters involved in the battle, "Today we finish. Today we will end that."

The air conditioned underground tunnels which include a bunker supplied with food, beds, and gas masks is believed to have been used by Gaddafi to escape from his compound which was stormed by the rebels only days ago.

Gaddafi apparently used the tunnels during the 1980s when tensions flared with the US and are believed to have been built at a time when Libya was developing nuclear weapons.

The 2,000 mile network reportedly stretches all the way from Tripoli to the desert.

The rebels seemed to be making headway in the battle for Tripoli against Gaddafi loyalists after discovering a huge cache of ammunition near the Rixos hotel but fierce fighting continued above ground as the rebels battled loyalists in the grounds of the dictator's compound.

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