LIVE: Libyan Unrest: “It is US policy that Gaddafi needs to go” –Barack Obama

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. You can also click on our links to the Right to follow the latest Live Libya Blogs and featured twitters. On the Go? -Follow us on Twitter @Feb17Libya for the same live updates.

All updates are in Libyan local time.

That’s it for Live Coverage on March 21, 2011. — stay tuned on the homepage for Live Updates  on March 22.

Continue reading below to follow the minute-by-minute updates that occurred throughout the day

China’s first naval ship entered into the Mediterranean to Libya today. It is said to be evacuating China natives working in Libya, but will be definitely “testing the waters.”

12:58AM: Al-Jazeera reports that Coalition forces hit radar installations at two air defence bases east of Benghazi, Libya

12:37AM: UK MPs vote 557-13 in support of United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya.

12:23AM: The UN Security Council has rejected a Libyan request for an emergency meeting to halt what Muammar Gaddafi’s regime called “military aggression”, saying it would wait for a briefing Thursday from the secretary-general.

12:01AM: Witnesses have told Reuters that the western Libyan town of Zintan faced heavy shelling earlier today from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, forcing residents to flee, including to caves in the mountainous region.

“Several houses have been destroyed and a mosque minaret was also brought down,” Abdulrahmane Daw told the news agency by phone from the town.

“New forces were sent today to besiege the city. There are now at least 40 tanks at the foothills of the mountains near Zintan.”

Swiss journalist Gaetan Vannay, also reached by telephone, said the shelling was the heaviest in three days. “Today this very strong battle started on the eastern front. Women and children hid in the caves in the forests.”

11:53PM: Mr Hague dismissed critics who said this was not the UK’s fight to be involved in. “If we had not got involved in this resolution and this action, then such a resolution and such action would probably not have happened at all.

11:51PM: In response to criticisms from some MPs that the House was not given the option voting before the UK joined the conflict, Mr Hague said that had the UN resolution been passed any later, “it would have been too late, and once that resolution was passed, we had to move with all possible speed”. He promised the House would be consulted on any future “fundamental change in the nature of the mission”.

11:48PM: Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has already said the opposition Labour party will back the military action.

11:46PM: Mr Hague said there had been “nothing gleeful or gung-ho” about the the debate in the Commons or the decision of the government to enter the conflict.

11:44PM: British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Europe must be a “magnet” for positive change in the Middle East and North Africa. If such revolutions as in Libya succeed, he said, the gains for British security and prosperity will be enormous. “If they do not, the potential for breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism will prosper, and that is why it is so much in our national interest to address these issues”.

11:41PM: British politicians are holding a late night debate on the country’s military involvement in Libya, with the government keen to convince the public the conflict will not drag on.

11:35PM: BBC news reports that a a spokesman for rebels in Misrata has described the situation as “a catastrophe”.

“We’ve had more than 40 dead, more than 200 injured here today because when Gaddafi stopped the military actions, the people went out on to the street to demonstrate and the military started shooting at them with heavy weapons,” he said.

“They even shot three ambulances – two of the drivers were killed.”

11:21PM: As allied missiles rain down on Libyan targets for a third successive night, the Guardian has put together an interactive map looking at the military assets in the area, and the first targets hit on the ground over the weekend.

 

10:47pm: More on that naval base strike (10:40). The base is some 10 kilometres (six miles) east of the capital, according to AFP.

10:40pm: Eyewitnesses quoted by Agence France Presse say that a naval base near Tripoli has been hit by coalition forces.

10:34pm : British members of parliament are expected to vote in a little over an hour’s time on whether to support the government’s decision to deploy British forces in Libya.

10:33pm: Here is President Obama’s statement from earlier regarding the plan in Libya

 

10:29pm : A Libyan rebel radio station saying it broadcasts from Misratah, in western Libya, says the “moment of victory is near,” according to the BBC’s media monitoring service. The radio station warned pro-Gaddafi forces who had lost contact with the commanders not to disguise themselves in civilian clothes. “Withdraw and hand yourselves over, because you are now isolated pockets,” the broadcast said.

10:04pm: The BBC’s Ian Pannell, near the eastern city and rebel stronghold of Benghazi, says that he came under attack from tanks belonging to Gaddafi’s troops just outside the town. “The ceasefire is not being honoured and there is still a battle under way. The rebels are a pretty rag-tag bunch. There’s no command and control. A lot of shouting and heat, and not a lot of light in their campaign.”

10:00pm: Mussa Ibrahim, a Libyan government spokesman, has said foreign attacks had killed many people by bombing ports and Sirte airport. Ibrahim told a news conference:” You saw that place (Sirte airport). It’s a civilian airport. It was bombarded and many people were killed. Harbours were also bombarded.”

9:59pm: More from the Libyan government spokesman who is giving a press briefing to journalists in the capital, Tripoli. He says that coalition forces have also bombarded Sebha, a southern town with close ties to Gaddafi.

9:55pm: TheNew York Times has just published more details about its four journalists, released after being held in Libya for six days.

9:47pm: A Libyan government spokesman says that many are killed after several ports and the airport at Sirte are targeted, Reuters report.

9:43pm: Libyan state TV is reporting that several sites in the capital have been attacked by what it calls the “crusader enemy”, Reuters reports. It says the broadcast adds that: “These attacks are not going to scare the Libyan people”.

9:38pm: Loud explosions and barrages of anti-aircraft fire were heard near the Tripoli compound of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Monday night, an AFP correspondent said. The volleys erupted at around 1900GMT near the Bab el-Aziziya barracks in the south of Tripoli, the correspondent said.

9:30pm: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, speaking in Turin, says he’d like Nato to take control of the international operation in Libya, according to Agence France Presse.

9:15pm: Libya’s state TV is reporting that the capital has come under attack from the international coalition, says AP

9:09pm: Anti-aircraft gunfire is lighting up the sky over Tripoli

9:06pm: CNN correspondent Nic Robertson in Tripoli says sirens can be heard coming from the area of the city where the compound is located. Loud anti-aircraft can be heard, indicating a no-fly zone has “not yet been achieved militarily”, he says.

9:02pm: There are reports of explosions in Tripoli and anti-aircraft tracer fire apparently coming from Col Gaddafi’s compound.

8:59pm: As the coalition strikes target Gaddafi areas, rebel fighters rest in the shade of a vehicle outside the northeastern Libyan town of Ajdabiyah on March 21, 2011.

the coalition strikes target Gaddafi areas

8:50pm: Mr Obama said the US would soon step back from the operation. “After the initial thrust that has disabled Gaddafi’s air defences, limiting his ability to threaten the populations, there will be a transition in which we have a range of coalition partners, who will then be participating in establishing a no-fly zone.

The Libyan rebellion flag is painted on a shrapnel-riddled wall in Benghazi on Sunday

8:29pm: An anonymous caller in Tripoli tells World Have Your Say that anti-aircraft fire can be heard in the background as she talks on the phone. “I am scared,” she says.

8:18pm: Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay has confirmed that Canadian military jets flew their first mission over Libya today, Reuters reports. Four CF-18 fighter jets and two refueling tanker were involved, he said, but they did not open fire.

8:07pm: Rebels in Misrata say that in addition to the 40 killed, 300 people were wounded today by regime gunfire, AFP reports

7:39pm: BBC correspondent reports there is considerable anger towards Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, who criticised the coalition air strikes; one Libyan told him: “I want to thank the international coalition for these strikes; if it hadn’t been for these strikes, Benghazi at this minute wouldn’t be on the map. Also I want to talk to Mr Amr Moussa: Talk out of knowledge or be quiet, and probably it is better if you be quiet… The strikes were not killing civilians, there were aimed at military forces only.”

7:25pm: Iman Bugaighis of the Opposition National Council told AlJazeera English that opposition forces have captured Ajdabiya and pushed Gaddafi forces to the eastern gate of the city. Dead line the street and the causalities fill the hospitals. Carnage called ”devastating” Ms. Bugaighis claims there is coordination between opposition forces and Coalition forces adding that without them ”we could have only kept it[Benghazi] for 1 or 2 days maximum.”

7:22pm: Forces loyal to Gaddafi surrounded Misrata, killing at least nine people, cutting off its water and bringing in human shield

7:16pm: French military aircraft have carried out 55 sorties over Libya in the past three days since the launch of the international coalition’s operation to enforce a UN resolution, France’s armed forces chief has said, according to AFP.

7:13pm: The UK prime minister’s official spokesman has said UK military targets will be chosen to achieve the two objectives stated in the UN resolution, ie the setting up of a no-Fly zone and the protection of civilians. He said: “I don’t want to get into a debate about specific targets, but targets will be chosen in order to meet the objectives of the resolution. But there is no stated objective within the resolution which calls for the removal of Col Gaddafi. All our targets will be legitimate and legal under the resolution.”

A Libyan rebel holds the rebellion flag as he stands over wrecked military vehicles belonging to Gaddafi’s forces Sunday

6:58pm: Norway’s defence minister has said the country’s six fighter jets sent to the international air campaign in Libya would not take action as long as it was unclear which country was commanding the multinational force, AFP reports.

6:55pm: The BBC’s Jon Sopel in Italy reports: “The first of the three Typhoons used by the RAF today [Monday] for missions over Libya has returned to base in Gioia del Colle. Two C130s have also arrived – presumably carrying weaponry and logistics support for the Tornadoes that are due here.”

6:50pm: France has not carried out any air strikes on Libya so far on Monday, according to the defence ministry, Reuters reports.

6:48pm: Pro-Gaddafi forces have been bombarding the town of Zintan in western Libya for several hours, al-Jazeera reports.

6:47pm: A French aircraft carrier will be in place to participate in the Libya operation from Tuesday, the spokesman has added.

6:44pm: France has deployed around 20 planes over Libya on Monday, an army spokesman has said, Reuters reports.

6:40pm:The United Arab Emirates said on Monday that its involvement in Libya is limited to humanitarian assistance, after reports that it would send warplanes to patrol a UN-backed no-fly zone

6:38pm:Libyan rebel envoy has told Associated Press news agency they do not want Muammar Gaddafi killed. After his ouster they would like him to stand trial.

6:30pm: Gen Ham says the US and coalition forces enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya are there to protect civilians and not to provide close-air support for opposition forces fighting Col Gaddafi. The general added he had no orders to directly attack the Libyan leader

6:25pm: US commander on coalition operations in Libya says the coalition has flown 70-80 sorties on Monday, which is well over half of those non-US

6:10pm: The Pentagon in the US has said 12 more cruise missiles have been fired at a Libyan missile, command and air defence sites, AP reports.

6:07pm: South African President Jacob Zuma tells BBC Africa on the crisis in Libya: “As South Africa, we say no to killing civilians. No to the regime change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya or any other sovereign state.”

5:55pm: After earlier suggestions  that the United Arab Emirates would send warplanes to patrol the Libyan no-fly zone, it has now said its involvement in Libya is limited to humanitarian assistance, AFP reports from Abu Dhabi

5:50pm: “I can announce to the House [of Commons] today that coalition forces have largely neutralised Libyan air defences and that as a result a no-fly zone has effectively been put in place over Libya,” British Prime Minister David Cameron has just told the UK’s parliament. “It is also clear that coalition forces have helped to avert what could have been a bloody massacre in Benghazi. In my view they did so just in the nick of time.”

5:47pm: A senior official in the Libyan National Council said it would not negotiate with Gaddafi to end the war, Reuters says. “We are in a war of attrition this dictator has forced upon us,” Abed al-Hafeez Ghoga told a news conference in Benghazi. “Because of this we refuse to negotiate with him. We will see the end of him rather than negotiate. He is wanted internationally as a war criminal. He will be judged for his genocidal actions.”

5:45pm: AFP is now quoting a rebel spokesman in Misrata corroborating resident quoted by Reuters that pro-Gaddafi troops had fired on people in Misrata. At least 11 people were killed, the spokesman told AFP.

5:34pm:The coalition fired 10 to 12 missiles at targets in Libya last night – a dramatic drop on the previous night when 110 missiles were fired, a spokesman for the US Africa Command Vince Crawley said according to Reuters. “We spent the first 24 hours establishing conditions for a no-fly zone and are now transitioning over to a patrol posture,” he said.

5:30pm: Allied military action in Libya is aimed at protecting civilians, not targeting Col Gaddafi, a senior White House official said according to Reuters. “It’s not about regime change,” the official, Ben Rhodes, told reporters on an Air Force One flight from Brazil to Chile.

5:15pm: Adel Abdelhafidh Ghoga, the Libyan National Council official, held a press briefing. He says the situation in Misurata is critical as there is no water, fuel or electricity. Ghoka said sleeping cells in Benghazi have been given till tomorrow afternoon to hand themselves over. They will be given amnesty, if not they will face the rebels and will be treated as enemy of the revolution. He says there is also an uprising in Tripoli but that media black out there and suppression is making things hard.

5:14pm: The Libyan armed forces have said that “the other sides are not committed to the ceasefire and the bombs and missiles are still targeting Libya”, the Libyan news agency Jana has reported, according to a translation by BBC Monitoring. Jana quoted “sources at the Temporary General Defence Committee” as saying that “the terrorists of al-Qaeda are still carrying out their armed attacks”.

5:05pm: Pro-Gaddafi forces have fired on a crowd in the rebel-held city of Misrata, and at least nine people have died, a resident tells Reuters

5:21pm: AlJazeera English reporting heavy fighting in Ajdabiya as opposition forces engage Gaddafi forces to reclaim to the city.

4:56pm: Nato is ready to support the international coalition intervening in Libya within “a few days,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has according to AFP.


4:54pm:
The Arab League’s Secretary General Amr Moussa – who had criticised the coalition bombarding Libya – has made the following statement after a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron: “We are commmitted to UN Security Council Resolution 1973, we have no objection to this decision, particularly as it does not call for an invasion of Libyan territory,” reports AFP.

4:54pm: Germany on Monday defended its decision not to back Western-led air strikes against Gaddafi, but backed EU in tightening sanctions against the Libyan government, Reuters reported.

4:50pm: The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last “a while,” a top French official said on Monday, echoing Moammar Gadhafi’s warning of a long war ahead

<4:41pm: “The warlord Sarkozy [the French president] wants to ‘Arabise’ the coalition against  Gaddafi,” writes journalist Arnaud Leparmentier in a blog hosted by France’s Le Monde website (in French).“This is his first war… He wants to follow in the footsteps of [former President] Jacques Chirac, the defender of the Arab peoples, not those of George W Bush… However, the Arab League seemed to be backtracking Sunday, and the Arab public are worried about bombardments carried out by what is not an international coalition, but essentially a US-Franco-British one. On Sunday evening, he called Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, emir of Abu Dhabi, to encourage him to participate in the coalition.”

4:20pm: Two Spanish F-18 fighter jets have staged their first sorties over Libya as part of the UN-mandated coalition, the defence ministry said according to AFP. Four F-18 fighter jets, a refueling aircraft, an F-100 frigate, an S-74 submarine and a CN-235 maritime surveillance plane will also be deployed by Spain – as well as about 500 troops.

4:14pm: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned the Western intervention in Libya, saying it is aimed at “getting their hands on its oil”, and that Iran supports the Libyan rebels, reports AFP.

4:13pm: More from Mohamed, a rebel in Misrata: “[Gaddafi’s] troops are on the outskirts of the city, and they are working towards the centre of the city. We hear of door-to-door searches… We don’t have water and most of the city is without electricity… The medical supplies are also running very low. The bombing campaign is a relief, we are very grateful and we are very relived by the international community’s actions. But we think regime change should be on the agenda.”

4:12pm: Libyan opposition National Council says eastern gate of Ajdabiya has been recaptured. Burnt-out vehicles line on the road between Ajdabiya and Benghazi, Al Jazeera correspondent reports.

4:02pm:Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times tweets: “While celebrating release of NYT journalists in Libya, we’re also thinking of Al Jazeera journos & others still detained.”

4:01pm: There are reports of heavy shelling by pro-Gaddafi troops in western city of Zintan.

3:46pm: The UN Security Council will probably hold a close door meeting on Libya Monday afternoon, a diplomat is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

3:45pm: Jacob Zuma, the South African president, said on Monday that his country does not support “the regime change doctrine” in Libya, and called for restraint from foreign countries enforcing a no-fly zone. Zuma said: “As South Africa we say no to the killing of civilians, no to the regime change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya,”, one of five heads of state on a high-level African Union panel on Libya.”

3:30pm: European Union foreign minister are meeting in Brussels to discuss ongoing situation in Libya.


3:20pm:
Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, said on Monday a UN resolution authorizing military action in Libya resembled “mediaeval calls for crusades” after Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes.

3:01pm: General Sir David Richards, the chief of the defence staff, was speaking after British Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to rule out that air strikes could specifically target Gaddafi. In an interview with BBC radio earlier, Hague declined to be drawn into the details of military targets.

Gaddafi’s tanks destroyed by Coalition

3:14pm: The BBC’s Kevin Connolly reports “loud explosions” in the far distance along the coast from Tobruk.

3:10pm: More from the rebel spokesman in Misrata: “They [the government forces] have distributed more than 200 snipers along the street, and they’re shooting in the direction of the main street and in the direction of the back streets. Our forces are trying to resist and to fend them off, and to expel them from the city, but he [Gaddafi] is using overwhelming firepower.”

3:08pm: A spokesman for the rebels in Misrata tells the BBC World Service: “Gaddafi has bombarded the city – this is the fourth consecutive day. The main street and the centre of the city have been razed to the ground. He only controls the main street that leads all the way out of Misrata, so he is controlling that street from end to end, and he’s preserving his supply line.”

3:05pm: The involvement of U.S. military aircraft in strikes on Libya has “plateaued,” a spokesman for United States Africa Command says. The U.S. conducted missile strikes overnight, spokesman Vince Crowley said.

3:03pm: British government sources have said it is legal under the UN resolution to target the Libyan leader. Sources say under the UN resolution 1973, the coalition have the power to target him if he is a threat to the civilian population of Libya. The source said the chief of the defence staff, Gen Sir David Richards, was wrong to say that it was not allowed under the UN resolution.

2:57pm: The BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Tobruk reports: “Some reports from the strategic town of Ajdabiya suggest a tentative advance by opposition forces emboldened by allied air operations has been repulsed by government troops. Even with Western support, the rebels remain a lightly armed and generally disorganised force.”

2:34pm: More from Maj Gen Lorimer: “We are satisfied that our attacks and those of our partners have been highly effective in degrading the Libyan air defence and command and control capability.”

2:32pm: At a news briefing, the British military has said there was no evidence of a ceasefire from the Libyan military, and that the UK will continue with military action. Maj Gen John Lorimer added they were not aware of any civilian casualties.

2:28pm: Swiss journalist Gaetan Vannay has been in the western city of Zintan for the past nine days and says the eastern outskirts of the city are currently under fire and have been since yesterday.

2:13pm: More from the Libyan rebels: they say their aim is still to capture the Libyan capital, Tripoli, but that they want to achieve that without foreign offensive action, the rebel spokesman has told a news conference in Benghazi.

1:20pm: Namik Tan, the Turkish ambassador to the United States, has written on Twitter that the four New York Times journalists – two reporters and two photographers – “are on their way to leave Libyan border and will be delivered to US officials.” Since US diplomatic personnel have withdrawn from Libya and the embassy has been shut down, Turkey is serving as the protector of US interests in the country. Tan said they were released this morning after negotiations between Turkey and Libya.

12:41pm: The Guardian newspaper’s Chris McGreal was on the road today near Ajdabiya, around 160km south of Benghazi, where Gaddafi troops are still fighting with rebels. That appears to be the current front line. The rebels, he says, view the coalition airstrikes “as part of their campaign.” That’s not what the West wants to hear; they’re trying to keep themselves from becoming embroiled in a full-scale regime change effort.

12:30pm: UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who spoke with Amr Moussa in Cairo today, was mobbed by dozens of pro-Gaddafi demonstrators today, the AFP reports. Ban was going to walk to Tahrir Square, the heart of the Egyptian revolution, but the demonstrators forced his delegation back into the Arab League.

12:11pm: The violence continues inside Libya. Rob Crilly, a correspondent for the Telegraph newspaper, tweets that he was halted during an attempt to get into Ajdabiya – south of Benghazi – because rebels in front of him were caught in an ambush and four were killed. Rebels may still be trapped inside Ajdabiya by pro-Gaddafi troops, he says.

12:05pm: The UN-sanctioned air strikes are having an affect, or everyone who was going to flee Libya has already fled; either way, the UN Refugee Agency says it has seen a decrease in the flow of Libyans leaving for Egypt in the past 48 hours. Some Libyans in Egypt have also returned to their country, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

11:53am: Iraq’s government has expressed support for international efforts to “protect Libyan people,” a spokesman said, according to Reuters.

10:38am: Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, appeared to backtrack on the League’s support for the coalition yesterday, saying the jet and cruise-missile strikes “differ[ed] from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone.” Moussa and his colleagues had asked the UN Security Council days before to institute a no-fly zone and left it up to the member states as to how it might be carried out, so yesterday’s remarks had some observers scratching their heads. Today, UK foreign secretary William Hague attempted a bit of damage control. Hague said he had spoken with Moussa, who still supported the coalition. “I think too much was made of Amr Moussa’s comments,” he said. “I will be talking to him again today.”

10:34am: UK defence secretary Liam Fox has told BBC Radio 5 that targeting Gaddafi himself – something the United States has thus far denied doing – could “potentially be a possibility” if civilians would not be harmed. Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, responded negatively to Fox’s comments. He said expanding the coalition’s goals could divide it and that it was “unwise” to set such specific goals that might be unachievable.

4:14am: The AFP newsagency, quoting the coalition, says Gaddafi’s military control centre was the target of strikes on Sunday and was destroyed. Libyan officals took journalists to see what they claimed was the damage from a missile attack. Officials said the missiles had struck very near to Gaddafi’s tent. Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Tripoli, said journalists taken to the scene asked officials why there was no smoke or fire. One official said he didn’t know because he wasn’t a military expert.

2:46am: The doctor added: “Our medical team has been working non-stop since last Tuesday. They are so exhausted. Our resources are almost finished. We ask the international community to at least secure passage for medical supplies and food. We have no water. Yesterday, there were 16 civilian deaths. Today, there were seven civilian deaths. All the injuries you could imagine – head, chest, laparotomy, crushed limbs and amputations. I haven’t got the resources to sustain them. In two or three days, I will have to leave all the injured patients dying and bleeding. I have no more resources.”

2:43am: Earlier, a doctor at a hospital in Misrata, Libya’s third city, told BBC Radio 5 live that the city was being attacked by forces loyal to Col Gaddafi. “Since early morning [on Sunday], they have been bombarding everything – all the buildings, all the homes, nobody is secure in this city,” he said. “Gaddafi’s militants and more than 25 tanks have been entering and bombarding the city. There are snipers all over. If you leave your front door, you are a target. I am not secure in the hospital and I cannot go home. I have not seen my family for a week. There is no secure way to get home.”

1:29am: British forces have taken part in “another co-ordinated strike against Libyan air defence systems,” the military has announced. For a second time, the UK has launched guided Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles from a Trafalgar Class submarine in the Mediterranean as part of a coordinated coalition plan to enforce the resolution,” Major General John Lorimer said in a statement. “We and our international partners are continuing operations in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.”

1:26am: Libyan anti-aircraft tracer fire erupted in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, as international forces pounded the country’s air defences and patrolled its skies.

1:00am: Libyan TV showing pictures of what it says are thousands of people gathering in the capital for funerals of people killed in air raids. The government says 64 people died in the attacks which began on March 20.

12:30am: Ryanair, the Irish budget carrier, has diverted flights from Trapani airport in Sicily starting Monday to make way for military operations over Libya. The airport at the foot of the Italian peninsula doubles as a military base. It is about 560km from the westernmost point of Libya. The move was the first reported direct impact from the Libyan conflict on airline operations outside the country.

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: “It is US policy that Gaddafi needs to go” –Barack Obama

We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. You can also click on our links to the Right to follow the latest Live Libya Blogs and featured twitters. On the Go? -Follow us on Twitter @Feb17Libya for the same live updates.

All updates are in Libyan local time.

That’s it for Live Coverage on March 21, 2011. — stay tuned on the homepage for Live Updates  on March 22.

Continue reading below to follow the minute-by-minute updates that occurred throughout the day

China’s first naval ship entered into the Mediterranean to Libya today. It is said to be evacuating China natives working in Libya, but will be definitely “testing the waters.”

12:58AM: Al-Jazeera reports that Coalition forces hit radar installations at two air defence bases east of Benghazi, Libya

12:37AM: UK MPs vote 557-13 in support of United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya.

12:23AM: The UN Security Council has rejected a Libyan request for an emergency meeting to halt what Muammar Gaddafi’s regime called “military aggression”, saying it would wait for a briefing Thursday from the secretary-general.

12:01AM: Witnesses have told Reuters that the western Libyan town of Zintan faced heavy shelling earlier today from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, forcing residents to flee, including to caves in the mountainous region.

“Several houses have been destroyed and a mosque minaret was also brought down,” Abdulrahmane Daw told the news agency by phone from the town.

“New forces were sent today to besiege the city. There are now at least 40 tanks at the foothills of the mountains near Zintan.”

Swiss journalist Gaetan Vannay, also reached by telephone, said the shelling was the heaviest in three days. “Today this very strong battle started on the eastern front. Women and children hid in the caves in the forests.”

11:53PM: Mr Hague dismissed critics who said this was not the UK’s fight to be involved in. “If we had not got involved in this resolution and this action, then such a resolution and such action would probably not have happened at all.

11:51PM: In response to criticisms from some MPs that the House was not given the option voting before the UK joined the conflict, Mr Hague said that had the UN resolution been passed any later, “it would have been too late, and once that resolution was passed, we had to move with all possible speed”. He promised the House would be consulted on any future “fundamental change in the nature of the mission”.

11:48PM: Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has already said the opposition Labour party will back the military action.

11:46PM: Mr Hague said there had been “nothing gleeful or gung-ho” about the the debate in the Commons or the decision of the government to enter the conflict.

11:44PM: British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Europe must be a “magnet” for positive change in the Middle East and North Africa. If such revolutions as in Libya succeed, he said, the gains for British security and prosperity will be enormous. “If they do not, the potential for breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism will prosper, and that is why it is so much in our national interest to address these issues”.

11:41PM: British politicians are holding a late night debate on the country’s military involvement in Libya, with the government keen to convince the public the conflict will not drag on.

11:35PM: BBC news reports that a a spokesman for rebels in Misrata has described the situation as “a catastrophe”.

“We’ve had more than 40 dead, more than 200 injured here today because when Gaddafi stopped the military actions, the people went out on to the street to demonstrate and the military started shooting at them with heavy weapons,” he said.

“They even shot three ambulances – two of the drivers were killed.”

11:21PM: As allied missiles rain down on Libyan targets for a third successive night, the Guardian has put together an interactive map looking at the military assets in the area, and the first targets hit on the ground over the weekend.

 

10:47pm: More on that naval base strike (10:40). The base is some 10 kilometres (six miles) east of the capital, according to AFP.

10:40pm: Eyewitnesses quoted by Agence France Presse say that a naval base near Tripoli has been hit by coalition forces.

10:34pm : British members of parliament are expected to vote in a little over an hour’s time on whether to support the government’s decision to deploy British forces in Libya.

10:33pm: Here is President Obama’s statement from earlier regarding the plan in Libya

10:29pm : A Libyan rebel radio station saying it broadcasts from Misratah, in western Libya, says the “moment of victory is near,” according to the BBC’s media monitoring service. The radio station warned pro-Gaddafi forces who had lost contact with the commanders not to disguise themselves in civilian clothes. “Withdraw and hand yourselves over, because you are now isolated pockets,” the broadcast said.

10:04pm: The BBC’s Ian Pannell, near the eastern city and rebel stronghold of Benghazi, says that he came under attack from tanks belonging to Gaddafi’s troops just outside the town. “The ceasefire is not being honoured and there is still a battle under way. The rebels are a pretty rag-tag bunch. There’s no command and control. A lot of shouting and heat, and not a lot of light in their campaign.”

10:00pm: Mussa Ibrahim, a Libyan government spokesman, has said foreign attacks had killed many people by bombing ports and Sirte airport. Ibrahim told a news conference:” You saw that place (Sirte airport). It’s a civilian airport. It was bombarded and many people were killed. Harbours were also bombarded.”

9:59pm: More from the Libyan government spokesman who is giving a press briefing to journalists in the capital, Tripoli. He says that coalition forces have also bombarded Sebha, a southern town with close ties to Gaddafi.

9:55pm: The New York Times has just published more details about its four journalists, released after being held in Libya for six days.

9:47pm: A Libyan government spokesman says that many are killed after several ports and the airport at Sirte are targeted, Reuters report.

9:43pm: Libyan state TV is reporting that several sites in the capital have been attacked by what it calls the “crusader enemy”, Reuters reports. It says the broadcast adds that: “These attacks are not going to scare the Libyan people”.

9:38pm: Loud explosions and barrages of anti-aircraft fire were heard near the Tripoli compound of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Monday night, an AFP correspondent said. The volleys erupted at around 1900GMT near the Bab el-Aziziya barracks in the south of Tripoli, the correspondent said.

9:30pm: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, speaking in Turin, says he’d like Nato to take control of the international operation in Libya, according to Agence France Presse.

9:15pm: Libya’s state TV is reporting that the capital has come under attack from the international coalition, says AP

9:09pm: Anti-aircraft gunfire is lighting up the sky over Tripoli

9:06pm: CNN correspondent Nic Robertson in Tripoli says sirens can be heard coming from the area of the city where the compound is located. Loud anti-aircraft can be heard, indicating a no-fly zone has “not yet been achieved militarily”, he says.

9:02pm: There are reports of explosions in Tripoli and anti-aircraft tracer fire apparently coming from Col Gaddafi’s compound.

8:59pm: As the coalition strikes target Gaddafi areas, rebel fighters rest in the shade of a vehicle outside the northeastern Libyan town of Ajdabiyah on March 21, 2011.[Photo by Reuters]

 

8:50pm: Mr Obama said the US would soon step back from the operation. “After the initial thrust that has disabled Gaddafi’s air defences, limiting his ability to threaten the populations, there will be a transition in which we have a range of coalition partners, who will then be participating in establishing a no-fly zone.

 

The Libyan rebellion flag is painted on a shrapnel-riddled wall in Benghazi on Sunday

8:29pm: An anonymous caller in Tripoli tells World Have Your Say that anti-aircraft fire can be heard in the background as she talks on the phone. “I am scared,” she says.

8:18pm: Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay has confirmed that Canadian military jets flew their first mission over Libya today, Reuters reports. Four CF-18 fighter jets and two refueling tanker were involved, he said, but they did not open fire.

8:07pm: Rebels in Misrata say that in addition to the 40 killed, 300 people were wounded today by regime gunfire, AFP reports

7:39pm: BBC correspondent reports there is considerable anger towards Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, who criticised the coalition air strikes; one Libyan told him: “I want to thank the international coalition for these strikes; if it hadn’t been for these strikes, Benghazi at this minute wouldn’t be on the map. Also I want to talk to Mr Amr Moussa: Talk out of knowledge or be quiet, and probably it is better if you be quiet… The strikes were not killing civilians, there were aimed at military forces only.”

7:25pm: Iman Bugaighis of the Opposition National Council told AlJazeera English that opposition forces have captured Ajdabiya and pushed Gaddafi forces to the eastern gate of the city. Dead line the street and the causalities fill the hospitals. Carnage called ”devastating” Ms. Bugaighis claims there is coordination between opposition forces and Coalition forces adding that without them ”we could have only kept it[Benghazi] for 1 or 2 days maximum.”

7:22pm: Forces loyal to Gaddafi surrounded Misrata, killing at least nine people, cutting off its water and bringing in human shield

7:16pm: French military aircraft have carried out 55 sorties over Libya in the past three days since the launch of the international coalition’s operation to enforce a UN resolution, France’s armed forces chief has said, according to AFP.

7:13pm: The UK prime minister’s official spokesman has said UK military targets will be chosen to achieve the two objectives stated in the UN resolution, ie the setting up of a no-Fly zone and the protection of civilians. He said: “I don’t want to get into a debate about specific targets, but targets will be chosen in order to meet the objectives of the resolution. But there is no stated objective within the resolution which calls for the removal of Col Gaddafi. All our targets will be legitimate and legal under the resolution.”

 

A Libyan rebel holds the rebellion flag as he stands over wrecked military vehicles belonging to Gadhafi’s forces Sunday

6:58pm: Norway’s defence minister has said the country’s six fighter jets sent to the international air campaign in Libya would not take action as long as it was unclear which country was commanding the multinational force, AFP reports.

6:55pm: The BBC’s Jon Sopel in Italy reports: “The first of the three Typhoons used by the RAF today [Monday] for missions over Libya has returned to base in Gioia del Colle. Two C130s have also arrived – presumably carrying weaponry and logistics support for the Tornadoes that are due here.”

6:50pm: France has not carried out any air strikes on Libya so far on Monday, according to the defence ministry, Reuters reports.

6:48pm: Pro-Gaddafi forces have been bombarding the town of Zintan in western Libya for several hours, al-Jazeera reports.

6:47pm: A French aircraft carrier will be in place to participate in the Libya operation from Tuesday, the spokesman has added.

6:44pm: France has deployed around 20 planes over Libya on Monday, an army spokesman has said, Reuters reports.

6:40pm:The United Arab Emirates said on Monday that its involvement in Libya is limited to humanitarian assistance, after reports that it would send warplanes to patrol a UN-backed no-fly zone

6:38pm:Libyan rebel envoy has told Associated Press news agency they do not want Muammar Gaddafi killed. After his ouster they would like him to stand trial.

6:30pm: Gen Ham says the US and coalition forces enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya are there to protect civilians and not to provide close-air support for opposition forces fighting Col Gaddafi. The general added he had no orders to directly attack the Libyan leader

6:25pm: US commander on coalition operations in Libya says the coalition has flown 70-80 sorties on Monday, which is well over half of those non-US

6:10pm: The Pentagon in the US has said 12 more cruise missiles have been fired at a Libyan missile, command and air defence sites, AP reports.

6:07pm: South African President Jacob Zuma tells BBC Africa on the crisis in Libya: “As South Africa, we say no to killing civilians. No to the regime change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya or any other sovereign state.”

5:55pm: After earlier suggestions  that the United Arab Emirates would send warplanes to patrol the Libyan no-fly zone, it has now said its involvement in Libya is limited to humanitarian assistance, AFP reports from Abu Dhabi

5:50pm: “I can announce to the House [of Commons] today that coalition forces have largely neutralised Libyan air defences and that as a result a no-fly zone has effectively been put in place over Libya,” British Prime Minister David Cameron has just told the UK’s parliament. “It is also clear that coalition forces have helped to avert what could have been a bloody massacre in Benghazi. In my view they did so just in the nick of time.”

5:47pm: A senior official in the Libyan National Council said it would not negotiate with Gaddafi to end the war, Reuters says. “We are in a war of attrition this dictator has forced upon us,” Abed al-Hafeez Ghoga told a news conference in Benghazi. “Because of this we refuse to negotiate with him. We will see the end of him rather than negotiate. He is wanted internationally as a war criminal. He will be judged for his genocidal actions.”

5:45pm: AFP is now quoting a rebel spokesman in Misrata corroborating resident quoted by Reuters that pro-Gaddafi troops had fired on people in Misrata. At least 11 people were killed, the spokesman told AFP.

5:34pm:The coalition fired 10 to 12 missiles at targets in Libya last night – a dramatic drop on the previous night when 110 missiles were fired, a spokesman for the US Africa Command Vince Crawley said according to Reuters. “We spent the first 24 hours establishing conditions for a no-fly zone and are now transitioning over to a patrol posture,” he said.

5:30pm: Allied military action in Libya is aimed at protecting civilians, not targeting Col Gaddafi, a senior White House official said according to Reuters. “It’s not about regime change,” the official, Ben Rhodes, told reporters on an Air Force One flight from Brazil to Chile.

5:15pm: Adel Abdelhafidh Ghoga, the Libyan National Council official, held a press briefing. He says the situation in Misurata is critical as there is no water, fuel or electricity. Ghoka said sleeping cells in Benghazi have been given till tomorrow afternoon to hand themselves over. They will be given amnesty, if not they will face the rebels and will be treated as enemy of the revolution. He says there is also an uprising in Tripoli but that media black out there and suppression is making things hard.

5:14pm: The Libyan armed forces have said that “the other sides are not committed to the ceasefire and the bombs and missiles are still targeting Libya”, the Libyan news agency Jana has reported, according to a translation by BBC Monitoring. Jana quoted “sources at the Temporary General Defence Committee” as saying that “the terrorists of al-Qaeda are still carrying out their armed attacks”.

5:05pm: Pro-Gaddafi forces have fired on a crowd in the rebel-held city of Misrata, and at least nine people have died, a resident tells Reuters

5:21pm: AlJazeera English reporting heavy fighting in Ajdabiya as opposition forces engage Gaddafi forces to reclaim to the city.

4:56pm: Nato is ready to support the international coalition intervening in Libya within “a few days,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has according to AFP.


4:54pm:
The Arab League’s Secretary General Amr Moussa – who had criticised the coalition bombarding Libya – has made the following statement after a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron: “We are commmitted to UN Security Council Resolution 1973, we have no objection to this decision, particularly as it does not call for an invasion of Libyan territory,” reports AFP.

4:54pm: Germany on Monday defended its decision not to back Western-led air strikes against Gaddafi, but backed EU in tightening sanctions against the Libyan government, Reuters reported.

4:50pm: The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last “a while,” a top French official said on Monday, echoing Moammar Gadhafi’s warning of a long war ahead

<4:41pm: “The warlord Sarkozy [the French president] wants to ‘Arabise’ the coalition against  Gaddafi,” writes journalist Arnaud Leparmentier in a blog hosted by France’s Le Monde website (in French).“This is his first war… He wants to follow in the footsteps of [former President] Jacques Chirac, the defender of the Arab peoples, not those of George W Bush… However, the Arab League seemed to be backtracking Sunday, and the Arab public are worried about bombardments carried out by what is not an international coalition, but essentially a US-Franco-British one. On Sunday evening, he called Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, emir of Abu Dhabi, to encourage him to participate in the coalition.”

4:20pm: Two Spanish F-18 fighter jets have staged their first sorties over Libya as part of the UN-mandated coalition, the defence ministry said according to AFP. Four F-18 fighter jets, a refueling aircraft, an F-100 frigate, an S-74 submarine and a CN-235 maritime surveillance plane will also be deployed by Spain – as well as about 500 troops.

4:14pm: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned the Western intervention in Libya, saying it is aimed at “getting their hands on its oil”, and that Iran supports the Libyan rebels, reports AFP.

4:13pm: More from Mohamed, a rebel in Misrata: “[Gaddafi’s] troops are on the outskirts of the city, and they are working towards the centre of the city. We hear of door-to-door searches… We don’t have water and most of the city is without electricity… The medical supplies are also running very low. The bombing campaign is a relief, we are very grateful and we are very relived by the international community’s actions. But we think regime change should be on the agenda.”

4:12pm: Libyan opposition National Council says eastern gate of Ajdabiya has been recaptured. Burnt-out vehicles line on the road between Ajdabiya and Benghazi, Al Jazeera correspondent reports.

4:02pm:Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times tweets: “While celebrating release of NYT journalists in Libya, we’re also thinking of Al Jazeera journos & others still detained.”

4:01pm: There are reports of heavy shelling by pro-Gaddafi troops in western city of Zintan.

3:46pm: The UN Security Council will probably hold a close door meeting on Libya Monday afternoon, a diplomat is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

3:45pm: Jacob Zuma, the South African president, said on Monday that his country does not support “the regime change doctrine” in Libya, and called for restraint from foreign countries enforcing a no-fly zone. Zuma said: “As South Africa we say no to the killing of civilians, no to the regime change doctrine and no to the foreign occupation of Libya,”, one of five heads of state on a high-level African Union panel on Libya.”

3:30pm: European Union foreign minister are meeting in Brussels to discuss ongoing situation in Libya.


3:20pm:
Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, said on Monday a UN resolution authorizing military action in Libya resembled “mediaeval calls for crusades” after Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes.

3:01pm: General Sir David Richards, the chief of the defence staff, was speaking after British Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to rule out that air strikes could specifically target Gaddafi. In an interview with BBC radio earlier, Hague declined to be drawn into the details of military targets.

Gaddafi’s tanks destroyed by Coalition

3:14pm: The BBC’s Kevin Connolly reports “loud explosions” in the far distance along the coast from Tobruk.

3:10pm: More from the rebel spokesman in Misrata: “They [the government forces] have distributed more than 200 snipers along the street, and they’re shooting in the direction of the main street and in the direction of the back streets. Our forces are trying to resist and to fend them off, and to expel them from the city, but he [Gaddafi] is using overwhelming firepower.”

3:08pm: A spokesman for the rebels in Misrata tells the BBC World Service: “Gaddafi has bombarded the city – this is the fourth consecutive day. The main street and the centre of the city have been razed to the ground. He only controls the main street that leads all the way out of Misrata, so he is controlling that street from end to end, and he’s preserving his supply line.”

3:05pm: The involvement of U.S. military aircraft in strikes on Libya has “plateaued,” a spokesman for United States Africa Command says. The U.S. conducted missile strikes overnight, spokesman Vince Crowley said.

3:03pm: British government sources have said it is legal under the UN resolution to target the Libyan leader. Sources say under the UN resolution 1973, the coalition have the power to target him if he is a threat to the civilian population of Libya. The source said the chief of the defence staff, Gen Sir David Richards, was wrong to say that it was not allowed under the UN resolution.

2:57pm: The BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Tobruk reports: “Some reports from the strategic town of Ajdabiya suggest a tentative advance by opposition forces emboldened by allied air operations has been repulsed by government troops. Even with Western support, the rebels remain a lightly armed and generally disorganised force.”

2:34pm: More from Maj Gen Lorimer: “We are satisfied that our attacks and those of our partners have been highly effective in degrading the Libyan air defence and command and control capability.”

2:32pm: At a news briefing, the British military has said there was no evidence of a ceasefire from the Libyan military, and that the UK will continue with military action. Maj Gen John Lorimer added they were not aware of any civilian casualties.

2:28pm: Swiss journalist Gaetan Vannay has been in the western city of Zintan for the past nine days and says the eastern outskirts of the city are currently under fire and have been since yesterday.

2:13pm: More from the Libyan rebels: they say their aim is still to capture the Libyan capital, Tripoli, but that they want to achieve that without foreign offensive action, the rebel spokesman has told a news conference in Benghazi.

1:20pm: Namik Tan, the Turkish ambassador to the United States, has written on Twitter that the four New York Times journalists – two reporters and two photographers – “are on their way to leave Libyan border and will be delivered to US officials.” Since US diplomatic personnel have withdrawn from Libya and the embassy has been shut down, Turkey is serving as the protector of US interests in the country. Tan said they were released this morning after negotiations between Turkey and Libya.

12:41pm: The Guardian newspaper’s Chris McGreal was on the road today near Ajdabiya, around 160km south of Benghazi, where Gaddafi troops are still fighting with rebels. That appears to be the current front line. The rebels, he says, view the coalition airstrikes “as part of their campaign.” That’s not what the West wants to hear; they’re trying to keep themselves from becoming embroiled in a full-scale regime change effort.

12:30pm: UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who spoke with Amr Moussa in Cairo today, was mobbed by dozens of pro-Gaddafi demonstrators today, the AFP reports. Ban was going to walk to Tahrir Square, the heart of the Egyptian revolution, but the demonstrators forced his delegation back into the Arab League.

12:11pm: The violence continues inside Libya. Rob Crilly, a correspondent for the Telegraph newspaper, tweets that he was halted during an attempt to get into Ajdabiya – south of Benghazi – because rebels in front of him were caught in an ambush and four were killed. Rebels may still be trapped inside Ajdabiya by pro-Gaddafi troops, he says.

12:05pm: The UN-sanctioned air strikes are having an affect, or everyone who was going to flee Libya has already fled; either way, the UN Refugee Agency says it has seen a decrease in the flow of Libyans leaving for Egypt in the past 48 hours. Some Libyans in Egypt have also returned to their country, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

11:53am: Iraq’s government has expressed support for international efforts to “protect Libyan people,” a spokesman said, according to Reuters.

10:38am: Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, appeared to backtrack on the League’s support for the coalition yesterday, saying the jet and cruise-missile strikes “differ[ed] from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone.” Moussa and his colleagues had asked the UN Security Council days before to institute a no-fly zone and left it up to the member states as to how it might be carried out, so yesterday’s remarks had some observers scratching their heads. Today, UK foreign secretary William Hague attempted a bit of damage control. Hague said he had spoken with Moussa, who still supported the coalition. “I think too much was made of Amr Moussa’s comments,” he said. “I will be talking to him again today.”

10:34am: UK defence secretary Liam Fox has told BBC Radio 5 that targeting Gaddafi himself – something the United States has thus far denied doing – could “potentially be a possibility” if civilians would not be harmed. Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, responded negatively to Fox’s comments. He said expanding the coalition’s goals could divide it and that it was “unwise” to set such specific goals that might be unachievable.

4:14am: The AFP newsagency, quoting the coalition, says Gaddafi’s military control centre was the target of strikes on Sunday and was destroyed. Libyan officals took journalists to see what they claimed was the damage from a missile attack. Officials said the missiles had struck very near to Gaddafi’s tent. Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Tripoli, said journalists taken to the scene asked officials why there was no smoke or fire. One official said he didn’t know because he wasn’t a military expert.

2:46am: The doctor added: “Our medical team has been working non-stop since last Tuesday. They are so exhausted. Our resources are almost finished. We ask the international community to at least secure passage for medical supplies and food. We have no water. Yesterday, there were 16 civilian deaths. Today, there were seven civilian deaths. All the injuries you could imagine – head, chest, laparotomy, crushed limbs and amputations. I haven’t got the resources to sustain them. In two or three days, I will have to leave all the injured patients dying and bleeding. I have no more resources.”

2:43am: Earlier, a doctor at a hospital in Misrata, Libya’s third city, told BBC Radio 5 live that the city was being attacked by forces loyal to Col Gaddafi. “Since early morning [on Sunday], they have been bombarding everything – all the buildings, all the homes, nobody is secure in this city,” he said. “Gaddafi’s militants and more than 25 tanks have been entering and bombarding the city. There are snipers all over. If you leave your front door, you are a target. I am not secure in the hospital and I cannot go home. I have not seen my family for a week. There is no secure way to get home.”

1:29am: British forces have taken part in “another co-ordinated strike against Libyan air defence systems,” the military has announced. For a second time, the UK has launched guided Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles from a Trafalgar Class submarine in the Mediterranean as part of a coordinated coalition plan to enforce the resolution,” Major General John Lorimer said in a statement. “We and our international partners are continuing operations in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.”

1:26am: Libyan anti-aircraft tracer fire erupted in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, as international forces pounded the country’s air defences and patrolled its skies.

1:00am: Libyan TV showing pictures of what it says are thousands of people gathering in the capital for funerals of people killed in air raids. The government says 64 people died in the attacks which began on March 20.

12:30am: Ryanair, the Irish budget carrier, has diverted flights from Trapani airport in Sicily starting Monday to make way for military operations over Libya. The airport at the foot of the Italian peninsula doubles as a military base. It is about 560km from the westernmost point of Libya. The move was the first reported direct impact from the Libyan conflict on airline operations outside the country.