He then called on his supporters around the country to help liberate the capital from a rebel offensive.
In an audio message played by state television he said he was “afraid that Tripoli will burn”.
By 2200 BST, I was absolutely gripped by Sky’s Alex Crawford unflinching reports from Libya.
Her description of the advancement was punctuated by gun fire lighting up the sky like fireworks and jubilant rebels, along with civilians who had surrounded her, chanting: “Allahu akbar!” (“God is great!”)
Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s spokesman, Mussa Ibrahim, claimed in a broadcast a few minutes later that 1,300 people had been killed in the last 11 and a half hours and laid the blame for the deaths at NATO’s door.
He went on to call for a cease-fire.
Sky News then reported that the rebels had revealed Saif Al-Islam, Col Gaddafi’s son, had been captured.
An ex-colleague of mine posted a comment on Facebook questioning whether the rebels have a plan to govern the oil-producing country.
The National Transitional Council (NTC) is now recognised as Libya’s legitimate authority by many countries including the British government which unfroze £91m in UK assets belonging to the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, a Libyan oil firm under the NTC’s control.
The head of the NTC’s political committee, Fatih Baja, told Reuters: “We’ve been preparing for this since the first month of the revolution.”
However, the rebels comprise different factions and ethnic and tribal divisions.
Only time will tell…