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Frustration Builds As Hunt For Gaddafi Continues

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PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi remains on the run and defiant as outbreaks of fierce fighting continued on the streets of capital Tripoli.

Gaddafi called on his supporters to take on the rebels and "fight them and kill them" in an audio message released as gun battles raged in parts of the city.

Despite the involvement of Nato intelligence and reconnaissance assets, the manhunt for the despot has so far failed.

Snipers loyal to Gaddafi were involved in the bloodiest battles in Tripoli's Abu Salim area, near the ruler's former compound in Bab al-Aziziya which was overrun earlier this week.

Gaddafi urged his remaining forces to take to the streets in his message, which was broadcast on Syrian-based Al-Ouroba TV. "Fill the streets and the squares. Don't be afraid of the raids," he said. "Don't leave Tripoli for the rats. Fight them and kill them."

Despite the ongoing violence and the failure to capture Gaddafi, the National Transitional Council (NTC) cabinet was pressing ahead with its hugely symbolic move from eastern stronghold Benghazi to Tripoli. The NTC also received a boost as a deal was struck at the United Nations to release 1.5 billion US dollars of frozen Libyan assets.

The UK Government's focus has also started to shift towards Libya's future under the NTC, although Foreign Secretary William Hague said what happened to Gaddafi was a "very important component".

He told BBC's Newsnight: "It's one of the important things to bring him to justice, one of several important things, of course for there also to be more order and security established in Tripoli, for the NTC to have access to more funds - all of these things - and what happens to Gaddafi is one very important component."

Mr Hague said that British officials would help in establishing the NTC's rule. "We can help them with advice on policing, advice on clearing landmines and with £20 million of immediate assistance we have set aside," he said.

Officials in Scotland have contacted the NTC's representatives in London as part of efforts to track down Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi. As part of the terms of his release on compassionate grounds Megrahi is supposed to check in with officials at East Renfrewshire Council, but he has not been reached since fighting broke out in Tripoli.