Rebel fighters sought to consolidate their hold on Tripoli on Wednesday and continued to hunt down an elusive and defiant Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, a day after they crashed through the gates of his fortresslike compound, ransacking its barracks for weapons and carting off mementos of his 42-year dictatorship. As a reminder that he remained on the loose, Colonel Qaddafi, in an address broadcast early Wednesday on a local Tripoli radio station, called his retreat from the compound tactical, several news reports said. He blamed months of NATO airstrikes for bringing down his compound and vowed martyrdom or victory in his battle against the alliance. Urging Libyan tribes across the land to march on the capital, he said: I call on all Tripoli residents, with all its young, old and armed brigades, to defend the city, to cleanse it, to put an end to the traitors and kick them out of our city. These gangs seek to destroy Tripoli, he said, referring to the rebels, who began taking control of Tripoli late on Sunday. They are evil incarnate. We should fight them.