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Friday, August 26, 2011

Tripoli prays for peace as rebels hunt Gaddafi!

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By Mohammed Abbas and Samia Nakhoul, / TRIPOLI / Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:34pm EDT.

Muslims pray during Friday prayers at El-Fechloum mosque in Tripoli August 26, 2011. REUTERS-Louafi Larbi

(Reuters) - The people of Tripoli ventured out to mosques on Friday, praying for peace and offering thanks for the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, though the Libyan capital remained locked down and dangerous as rebel fighters hunted the fugitive strongman.

Libya's new leaders pressed foreign powers for cash to build an army and police force, as well as hospitals, schools and the means to exploit their oil wealth. But as Muslims prepared for the great festival of Eid, many Libyans and their backers in the West saw the first priority as capturing or killing Gaddafi.

"Gaddafi is the biggest criminal and dictator and we hope we will find him before the end of Ramadan," said Milad Abu Aisha, a 60-year-old pensioner who joined friends at his local mosque in Tripoli. The last Friday prayers of the fasting month, which ends with Eid on Monday, are traditionally well attended.

"It will be the happiest Eid in 42 years," said Mohammed al-Misrati, a 52-year-old office worker who was among hundreds streaming toward the mosque under the protection of armed local men who have formed ad hoc security units across the capital.

"We have a taste of freedom after 42 years of repression and oppression," said Misrati. "We have discovered freedom."

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