Benghazi: As Libyan rebels fought to close in on Tripoli on Thursday, their chief said he feared a bloodbath in a battle for the capital that could come by the end of August.
   
Anticipating victory, the rebels' political leaders have set out a plan to transform the country from autocracy to a fully blown democracy, in a roadmap which could help define Libya for the coming decades.

National Transitional Council (NTC) head Mustafa Abdel Jalil said in a newspaper interview the "noose is tightening" and that he feared a "veritable bloodbath" in Tripoli because of strongman Muammar Gaddafi's refusal to step down.
   
"Gaddafi will not go quietly; he will go amid a catastrophe that will touch him and his family," Abdel Jalil told the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat from his eastern bastion of Benghazi.
   
The Libyan leader, who has ruled the oil-rich North African nation for nearly 42 years, has consistently refused to step down, and continues to rally his supporters to drive back the enemy.
   
Yet Abdel Jalil said he hoped to celebrate in Tripoli, a city of more one million inhabitants, the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which will cap the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan at the end of August.
   
He renewed the rebels' rejection of any talks which do not envision the departure of Gaddafi and his sons from power, andn criticised UN envoy Abdel Ilah Khatib for not taking that into account.

"Khatib only proposes initiatives that do not include this demand," which he said was fundamental.

 (Agencies)