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.
2:05AM: Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught in Tripoli says Gaddafi’s televised address may not have been broadcast live as state TV runs a lot of recycled material, and no busloads of foreign journalists were brought to his palace to witness the event.
2:02AM: The UN is preparing to bring more aid into Libya. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says the agency will send truckloads of goods to Benghazi on Wednesday, including 5,000 blankets and 5,000 sleeping mats. ”Providing humanitarian assistance under current circumstances is very challenging,” he said.”There are reported shortages of medical supplies and basic commodities in the eastern part of the country, with prices having increased dramatically.” The UN World Food Programme plans to move 19 tons of lentils and 11 tons of vegetable oil in the next two days from Egypt into eastern Libya.
1:13AM: The Dutch government has said it will deploy six F-16 fighter jets, a refueling plane and a navy minesweeper to help enforce the arms embargo against Libya. The defense minister, Hans Hillen, said the F-16s would be available within a few days while the minesweeper, HMS Haarlem, already is in the Mediterranean.
1:05AM: Col Gaddafi’s words earlier today purportedly in front of his damaged Bab Al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli: “I do not fear storms that sweep the horizon, nor do I fear the planes that throw black destruction. I am resistant, my house is here in my tent […] I am the rightful owner, and the creator of tomorrow. I, I am here! I am here! I am here!”.
12:38AM: Hillary Clinton says people purporting to represent Col Gaddafi have been in contact with US officials. “A lot of it is just the way he behaves. It’s somewhat unpredictable. But some of it, we think, is exploring. You know, what are my options? where could I go? what could I do? And we would encourage that, their options,” she tells ABC news.
12:23AM: Hillary Clinton says that though she heard reports that one of Col Gaddafi’s sons had been killed, the “evidence is not sufficient” to confirm this. She told ABC that it was not US forces that would have killed him.
12:17AM:The US president says the Libyan people face potential threats from Col Gaddafi if he remains in power. Unless Col Gaddafi is willing to step down, “there are still going to be potential threats toward the Libyan people,” he says, Reuters report.
12:07AM: Germany is withdrawing ships and air crews in the Mediterranean Sea from various long-running Nato operations following the military alliance’s decision to enforce a UN arms embargo on Libya, according to the Associated Press news agency. Berlin isn’t participating in the operation to impose a no-fly zone in Libya and abstained on the U.N. resolution authorizing it.
11:58PM: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vows to continue the fighting, confident that they will win in the end. “We will be victorious in the end,” Col Gaddafi said in remarks broadcast live on television. The Libyan people are Libya’s “air defence” says Muammar Gaddafi in his address, infront of a crowd gathered at his fortified Tripoli compound, the BBC’s Monitoring Service reports. He also declared, “I am here, I am here”
11:55PM: A majority of French support the foreign military operations in Libya, according to the first poll carried out in France since operations started against Gaddafi’s forces on Saturday. According to the survey conducted by pollster IFOP, 66 per cent of those surveyed supported the intervention and there was no difference between left-wing or right-wing political streams.
11:38PM: The U.S.-led military mission in Libya has already saved lives in Benghazi, President Obama says. He also said he has “no doubt” US will be able to shift control of Libya mission to int’l coalition
11:11PM: Al Jazeera Arabic interviews the National Transitional Council head Abdul Jalil live: we appreciate Coalition forces, emphasize that they are here to protect Civilians not to occupy. He said that revolutionaries alone do not have necessary firepower to protect civilians and stop Gaddafi’s massacres.
10:47PM: Saudi Arabia has expressed its support for the military operation in Libya. The Saudis have moved to clamp down on protests in their own country, but they have been on bad terms with Col Gaddafi for years. UK Prime Minister David Cameron met Saudi Foreign Minister in London for talks on Tuesday. “Prince Saud expressed strong support for the aims of UNSCR 1973 [authorising the no-fly zone] and the steps being taken by the international community to enforce it,” Downing St said in a statement after the meeting.
10:42PM: The New York Times has more on the controversial circumstances in which the crew of a downed US fighter were extracted from eastern Libya. It quotes a Marine Corps officer as saying that two Harrier attack jets dropped two 500-pound bombs during the rescue of the pilot on Monday night.
The officer added that the grounded pilot, who was in contact with rescue crews in the air, asked for the bombs to be dropped as a precaution before the crews landed to pick him up. ”My understanding is he asked for the ordnance to be delivered between where he was located and where he saw people coming towards him,” the officer said. He added that the pilot evidently made the request “to keep what he thought was a force closing in on him from closing in on him.”
10:38PM: Concern is rising about the fate of the coastal Libyan city of Misratam, which remains under fire from pro-Gaddafi snipers and tanks. The US military said earlier today it was “considering all options” in response to conditions there that have left people cowering in darkened homes and scrounging for food and rainwater. However, opponents of the Gaddafi regime fear that Libya’s third largest city could go the way of Zawiya, near Tripoli, which was largely taken back by rebels after vicious fighting.
10:26PM:At least two of the aircraft promised by Qatar have now arrived in Cyprus. Qatar is so far the only Arab country to contribute to the military operation against Libya. The planes are headed for the base of Souda in Crete but had to make an unscheduled stop after struggling against high winds. The two Mirage 2000 jets and the C-17 cargo aircraft had to refuel in Cyprus, AP reports.
10:17PM: The Libyan regime is saying that it will release three journalists held in the country, the French news agency AFP is reporting. AFP journalists Dave Clark and Roberto Schmidt, as well as photographer Joe Raedle from Getty Images, were detained by Libyan forces on Saturday near Ajdabiya in the east of Libya.
10:11PM: Libyan state TV has said residents of Tripoli will respond to coalition bombing raids with fireworks, BBC Monitoring notes. The action is to emphasise that “this is not a way to hold dialogue between nations”, the TV report said.
9:58PM: We are getting more reports from Misrata. A witness there tells the BBC that pro-Gaddafi troops and “mercenaries” have set fire to a food storage unit near the motorway in the south of the city, where they have a stronghold. The report – like others from that area – cannot be independently verified.
9:54PM: Advocacy group the Committee to Protect Journalists says it has confirmed more than 50 attacks or attempts to silence the media since the Libyan unrest began in February. The toll includes two deaths and more than 30 detentions, it says.
9:51PM: More signs that the coalition is widening. Romania is to send a frigate to the Mediterranean to take part in a Nato arms embargo of Libya, President Traian Basescu is quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
9:48PM: David Cameron and Barack Obama believe Nato should play a “key role” in the military campaign in Libya and that “substantial progress” has been made in implementing the UN resolution, Downing Street said tonight after the leaders spoke by telephone. The US president won British and French support for a NATO role in the air campaign against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, according to a Reuters take on diplomatic moves today.
He adds: “No aircraft or missiles were visible to the naked eye and traffic continued to move normally through the streets of the capital. State TV interrupted its regular broadcasts to report the start of the bombardment and show live pictures of tracer fire sending red tracer arcs across the sky.”
9:22pm: State-run Libyan TV has aired what it says is live coverage of the capital Tripoli coming under bombardment. The presenter said: “Tripoli is being bombarded now.” The channel split the screen and in one half showed the sky lit with fire and the sound of anti-aircraft fire could be heard.
9:17pm: President Obama has called UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy from Airforce One, the White House says. They “reviewed the substantial progress that has been made in terms of halting the advance of Gaddafi’s forces on Benghazi as well as the establishment of a no-fly zone”. They also agreed that “Nato should play a key role in the command structure going forward”.
Violent attacks from Gaddafi forces on civilian houses
9:02pm: The western city of Misrata came under heavy attack by Col Gaddafi’s forces on Tuesday, witnesses have told the BBC. Caller Mohammed in Misrata tells BBC World Have Your Say tanks and snipers were shooting in the morning. Four children died – a report which can’t be independently verified by the BBC. He also goes on to say “The people who have been killing in his city are not Libyan, but mercenaries”, and he says a number of them have been captured by rebels there. Libya.”
8:50pm: The countries in the no-fly zone coalition continue to discuss who should take command. The US is eager to hand over the lead, but Nato has not so far said it is willing to take over. President Obama believes Nato should be part of the mission’s command structure, the White House has said.
8:36pm: Col Gaddafi’s forces may have the advantage in firepower, but it seems a few new weapons are making their way into rebel hands. Rob Crilly of the Telegraph newspaper, who is in Benghazi, tweets: “some of the rebels have very new looking AK-47s today. Shiny and they are covering the muzzles to keep dust out #libya
7:58pm: One of the rebels in Benghazi, Abdallah Fajani, tells our correspondent Gaddafi will fight hard to hold on to this area: “Ajdabiya is the crossroads from three, four, five cities, so he wants to be in this city because this city is very important… And [so] it is important for us as well.”
7:54pm: The BBC’s Ian Pannell reports on the divisions among the Libyan rebels in Benghazi: “Rebels lack any command or control, they have no communications equipment and only light weapons… There are divergent strategies here: some envision pushing to the west, perhaps even to go as far as Tripoli; others want to just take Ajdabiya and then consolidate their hold of the east, hoping the Libyans in other cities will rise up and liberate themselves.”
7:42pm: On the question of command and control of the military operation in Libya, the BBC’s Chris Morris in Brussels says there has been no agreement yet: “Britain wants Nato to take over, but it admits there are differences of opinion. Many countries are sceptical, including Turkey which wants any Nato mission to be much more strictly defined. And France has been resisting Nato control, saying Arab countries wouldn’t want it. So we may be heading for a European command, or a form of words which will allow Nato structures to take part, without taking a political lead – what diplomats here wouldn’t want to call a fudge.”
7:30pm: Salah in Zintan has told the BBC about attacks on the western city: “The city is quiet now, but 10 people were killed earlier today. There are many tanks to the north and people have told us that there is a very large group of troops coming from the south. If these troops arrive, they will destroy the city. We are waiting for the Americans and the French to come and help. So far they haven’t come to Zintan. We want them to help us, to check out the area and to do the best they can to protect us.”
7:25pm: A UK resident who has recently returned from Zawiya but does not wish to be named has just told the BBC: “I spoke to one of my trusted friends in Zawiya about two hours ago. He’d had to drive 30km out of Zawiya to get reception to call me – the phone was not his. He said there were hundreds of troops on the street searching people, asking questions, taking away mobile phones, money, laptops, memory sticks. House-to-house searches are frequent and violent.”
7:12pm: Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News’s international editor, has been to the hospital where some of the Libyans injuredin the US airmen’s rescue have been taken . She has spoken to the father of a young boy who expects to have his leg amputated due to a bullet wound.Gauging the reaction of locals in the area, she says: “The local Libyans do not seem resentful, they still want the coalition forces to keep operating.”
6:31pm: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces are attacking civilians in the city of Misrata, Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, told reporters Tuesday. “We will continue to make him comply” with the United Nations Security Council resolution, Locklear said. The power of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s air force has been diminished to the point where it will “not have any negative impact” on coalition members conducting airstrikes, Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, said Tuesday.
6:11pm: It has emerged Libya has substantial gold reserves, reports the BBC’s Andrew Walker. They are worth more than $6bn at current prices, which puts Libya among the top 25 countries in terms of gold reserves. Libya is restricted in how it can use its overseas assets, but most Libyan gold is held inside the country and could generate millions of dollars in revenue for Col Gaddafi.
6:08pm: French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said the international intervention in Libya, and France’s conduct in it, were in strict compliance with UN Resolution 1973, BBC Monitoring reports. He told the French National Assembly: “Even if we call for the departure of Gaddafi, it’s for the Libyan people and that people alone to decide on their fate and on their future leaders.”
6:04pm: French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has called for the creation of a special committee of foreign ministers from coalition countries to oversee operations in Libya, AFP reports. The military campaign could end at any time if Col Gaddafi accepts a ceasefire, Mr Juppe has added.
5:57pm: UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has been commenting on events in Libya and the Arab world. Speaking in London, at the Times CEO Africa Summit, he said: “We are only in the early stages of what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East. It is already set to overtake the 2008 financial crisis and 9/11 as the most important development of the early 21st century, and is likely to bring some degree of political change in all countries in the Arab world.” The repercussions from the Middle East have also been felt in Sub-Saharan Africa, points out Hague . He mentions the crisis in Ivory Coast, and criticises Zimbabwe for intimidating opponents. He warns: “Governments that block the aspirations of their people, that steal or are corrupt, that oppress and torture or that deny freedom of expression and human rights should bear in mind that they will find it increasingly hard to escape the judgement of their own people, or where warranted, the reach of international law.”
5:29pm: Fighting in the western city of Zintan, near the border with Tunisia, has now subsided, an eyewitness has told BBC Arabic. The witness, Abdul, said: “Right now, it is calmer than it was in the morning, when there was fighting and shelling in the east of the city. Those Gaddafi forces have now withdrawn. However, 50 to 60 tanks have massed at the northern entrance to the city. Gaddafi’s forces have also cut off the electricity.”
5:21pm: More now from the Libya desk at the BBC World Service, which has been speaking to people on the ground. In Misrata, an opposition activist has appealed to the international community for help: “We need a sea ambulance or medical supplies to be brought by sea, because the government has cut off electricity and water and the hospital is suffering.”
Libya Briefing by Major General Lorimer (22 Marach, 2011)
4:57pm: If the Arab world remains uneasy about the no-fly zone, there is little sign of reluctance among the Libyan rebels. The Libya desk at the BBC World Service has learned that representatives of the rebels’ Transitional national Council in Benghazi have called a protest for Tuesday evening against Russia’s calls for the air strikes and the no-fly zone to be suspended. They expect a significant turn-out. One resident told the BBC: “We are happy about air strikes. Without them Benghazi would have been destroyed. Gaddafi’s forces brought long line of tanks with weapons to destroy us. Without french air strikes on saturday we would be dead. WE think it’s a good step. The UN is helping us.” Another said: “We are happy the coalition strikes are here. It saved Benghazi from absolute disaster.”
4:51pm: Here are the key excerpts from the Nato statement on the no-fly zone: “Nato has now decided to launch an operation to enforce the arms embargo against Libya… [Nato ships and aircraft] will conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries… At the same time, Nato has completed plans to help enforce the no-fly zone – to bring our contribution, if needed, in a clearly defined manner, to the broad international effort to protect the people of Libya from the violence of the Gaddafi regime.” However, there is no specific mention of using Nato’s command-and-control structure to direct operations.
4:44pm: The port in the Libyan capital of Tripoli appears to have been hit by a missile strike overnight, CNN’s Nic Robertson reports. He says he can see the smoldering remains of several large military rocket launcher systems. Witnesses told CNN they saw missiles strike in the port area overnight.
4:35pm: There are further reports of fighting on the ground between pro-Gaddafi forces and the rebels. The AFP news agency says at least nine people were killed in clashes on Monday and Tuesday in the rebel-controlled town of Yafran, 130km (80 miles) south-west of Tripoli.
4:30pm: NATO on Tuesday said it will begin to enforce an arms embargo against Libya. NATO ships and aircraft “will conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries,” according to a NATO statement. The alliance will also help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, the statement from NATO’s secretary-general said.
4:27pm: The backing of the Arab League was crucial for getting the UN resolution on the Libya no-fly zone, but some Arab countries are watching developments with unease. Algeria’s foreign minister says Western military intervention in Libya is “disproportionate” and must end immediately, Reuters reports, quoting the Algerian state news agency. Algeria has seen small-scale protests since the wave of uprisings in the Arab world began three months ago but the demonstrations have usually been broken up by the security forces.
4:25pm: Residents in Yafran southwest of Tripoli report fierce fighting between Gaddafi forces and Libyan rebels
4:25pm: Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons is onboard the USS Kearsarge, just off the Libyan coast, which was involved in the recovery of the crew of the F-15. ”We’re told two aircraft were involved in the recovery operation,” he said. ”The two pilots are in good condition. They are expected to be heading possibly to his ship which has excellent medical facilities on board. They were over flying northeast Libya on mission. It is not known exactly what they were engaged in.”
4:20pm: Spain has voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking part in the coalition to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s request for formal approval of the move was adopted by 336 votes to 3, with one abstention. Spanish planes have already been patrolling Libyan airspace. Madrid has also sent a frigate and a submarine to join coalition forces.
4:15pm: More on the debate over who should lead the mission in Libya: France is not the only country opposed to a joint Nato command, Yves Boyer, deputy director of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research tells the BBC World Service. Like the French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, Mr Boyer pointed out that the operation was not initiated by Nato but by individual countries forming a coalition. Given that the operation was “relatively limited in scope”, he said it could “be led by a Franco-British team, or by a European command, either the British or the French taking the lead”.
3:44pm: President Obama has called the Emir of Qatar, and underscored Qatar’s contribution to the Libya mission, the White House has added.
3:20pm: The Daily Telegraph has an account of the welcome the US airman received after his crash near Benghazi: “Raising his hands in the air he called out ‘OK, OK’ to greet the crowd. But he need not have worried. ‘I hugged him and said don’t be scared we are your friends,’ said Younis Amruni, 27… A queue formed to shake the hand of the airman, as locals thanked him for his role in the attacks.”
3:15pm: Nato ambassadors have agreed Nato warships would help to enforce a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats in Brussels have said, Reuters reports. The envoys have been trying to resolve the question of who should command the military campaign in Libya if the US steps back from leading the operation, they said
3:12pm:Opposition member in Misrata said he stopped counting the number of injured after he had reached 1,200. The death toll will increase as those injured will succumb. Witness says that some of the dead are unidentifiable and that Gaddafi forces are killing indiscriminately
3:05pm:Al Jazeera correspondent James Bays near Ajdabiya says that the opposition is only lightly armed in comparison to the heavily armed Gaddafi force. Bays says that neither side is gaining much ground on expanding their front line position
2:37pm: Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has himself spoken after his meeting with Mr Gates, saying an immediate ceasefire would be the best way to protect civilians in Libya. He has said Russia believes “that an immediate ceasefire and a dialogue between the belligerent parties is the surest path to the reliable security of civilians”.
2:35pm: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who is in Moscow, has said some people in Russia seem to believe what he called Col Gaddafi’s “lies” about civilian casualties in Libya: “We’ve been very careful about this, and it’s almost as though some people here are taking at face value Gaddafi’s claims about the number of civilian casualties, which as far as I am concerned are just outright lies,” he told reporters after talks with the Russian defence minister.
2:32pm: Libyan doctor in Misrata: The children of a colleague were killed by Col Gaddafi’s forces on Tuesday morning, “two boys and two girls. The situation is so serious. In my hospital here, we have no electricity and we work with a generator.” The doctor added he had not been in touch with his family for 10 days and did not know how they were. He says he lives in the hospital, where water and medical supplies are running low. “In one or two days, we can go home, because we won’t be able to do more than normal people can do. We are relieved to hear about the air strikes and the coalition forces, but on the ground we are dying every day.
2:20pm: UN Refugee Agency tweets: “#UNHCR staff at #Tunisia’s border with #Libya say they can hear gunfire coming from deep inside Libya.”
2:09pm: British Major General John Lorimer has said the coalition operation in Libya is having a “very real effect”, and that the Libyan government attack on Benghazi on Monday was stopped in its track.
1:47pm: In Britain, David Cameron’s spokesman says the prime minister has updated the cabinet on the latest developments in Libya. “The cabinet is completely united on the issue but clearly people do have questions,” the spokesman said. He added that the issue of whether Col Gaddafi would be targeted was not raised, saying “we have a very clear position on that”.
12:50pm: A spokesman in the rebel-held town of Misrata says that pro-Gaddafi forces killed five people, four of them children, on Tuesday, the AFP reports
12:44pm:Turkey will “never point guns” at Libyans, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is quoted as saying by Reuters. Mr Erdogan also says that the military operation sould be conducted under the UN control.
12:31pm: African Command’s Kenneth Fidler tells the BBC the indications are that the crash was not caused “by hostile action”. He says that one crew member has been recovered, and an operation is currently under way to recover the other serviceman. Mr Fidler also confirms that the warplane – F-15E Strike Eagle – crashed overnight. It was not immediately clear where the jet went down.
12:00pm: The Telegraph now says that the crashed US warplane is an F-15E Eagle.
11:55pm: Journalist Rob Crilly from The Telegraph currently in Libya tweets: “just found a crashed US warplane in a field. believe a mechanical failure brought it down #libya” a tweet a few minutes later added: crew believed safe #libya
11:53pm: Spanish aircraft have joined the military operation in Libya, the defence ministry in Madrid is quoted as saying by Spain’s TVE broadcaster
11:51am:There have been fresh air strikes on Ajdabiya, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal reports. Chris says he saw four large plumes of smoke coming from Ajdabiya, which is under control of Gaddafi’s forces, a short while after hearing aircraft overhead.
11:40pm: A presenter on Libya’s pro-Gaddafi TV station al-Libya is shown holding an automatic weapon in the studio and pledging to fight till his “last drop of blood”.
10:58AM: A doctor in Misrata, who wanted to remain anonymous, tells the BBC: “This is the fifth or sixth consecutive day of shelling the city. Our clinic is full of patients. We have no more beds to treat the patients. There is no light in the city. There has been no communication for 10 days and no water for more than one week. And still the heavy shelling continues. The situation is so serious. The international community must take responsibility. Since yesterday we have received 125 injured including an entire family with four children, shot in their car while trying to leave. Even my medical resources are running out. We can’t sustain this any more.”
10:23AM: The BBC’s Allan Little reports from Tripoli: “We have been shown no evidence of destruction but for the single exception of the missile that struck Col Gaddafi’s own compound on Sunday night. The government said that was proof that the air strikes had nothing to do with protecting civilians. A government spokesman said that a naval base 10km east of Tripoli had been targeted last night, as well as locations in Sebha in the south and a fishing village on the Mediterranean, known as Area 27. The government insists that civilians have been killed and wounded. “Our hospitals are filling up,” one minister told us. We have pressed the government here to show us evidence that civilians had indeed been affected but so far they have not done so.
10:11AM: Residents in two besieged rebel-held cities in western Libya, Misrata and Zintan, said they had been attacked by Gaddafi’s forces, Reuters reported. In Misrata, residents said people had gone out into the streets to try to stop Gaddafi’s forces entering the city. Zintan, near the Tunisian border, faced heavy shelling, two witnesses said, forcing residents to flee to mountain caves. Several houses were destroyed and a mosque minaret destroyed. “New forces were sent today to besiege the city. There are now at least 40 tanks at the foothills of the mountains near Zintan,” Abdulrahmane Daw told Reuters by phone from the town.
Pakistan is following, with serious concern, the developments in Libya in the wake of the military strikes. The loss of precious human lives is indeed regrettable. Peaceful political solution needs to be evolved by the Libyan people themselves in the spirit of mutual accommodation and national reconciliation.
The statement also gives credence to the regime’s claim of civilian casualties, calling such reports “extremely distressing.”
9:51AM: Three journalists who went missing in eastern Libya more than 72 hours ago have been arrested by Gaddafi troops, the AFP news agency reports. AFP reporter Dave Clark and photographer Roberto Schmidt were arrested along with Getty photographer Joe Raedle, their driver says.
The team drove from Tobruk, near the border with Egypt, to Ajdabiya, which had fallen under the regime’s control. They encountered a convoy of military jeeps and transport vehicles “a few dozen kilometres” from Ajdabiya and were arrested by regime soldiers, along with other civilians who came down the road.
9:21AM: Reuters reports that six Qatari Mirage fighter jets are due to land at a military base in Souda, Crete, today. Twelve F-16s and 12 Mirages from the United Arab Emirates are also going to head to Sicily soon, but the exact date isn’t known, Reuters says.
8:52AM: New video purports to show the results of the battle for the western town of Misurata, home to a major oil refinery, where the Gaddafi regime and the opposition disagree about who is currently in control. The government claims Misurata was “liberated” three days ago, but the opposition claim they retain control. This video shows at least three abandoned Gaddafi tanks and an armoured personnel carrier.
8:37AM: The BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Tobruk says: “Contacts between the rebel leadership and the UN are in their early stages. Like everything else about the popular uprising against Col Muammar Gaddafi, they have an air of improvisation against them. The speed with which the situation in Libya has evolved from spontaneous street protest to armed rebellion has not allowed for detailed planning. The talks were to discuss the humanitarian situation in eastern Libya. The rebel-held area continues to import food supplies from neighboring Egypt, but it is not clear how viable the local economy will be if it remains cut off from the rest of Libya for an extended period. Everything depends on the military situation, and that depends on the countries conducting air operations interpret their UN mandate. If they attack government troops on the battlefield, it will give the rebels a military edge. If they confine themselves to patrolling a no-fly zone, a long stalemate may well emerge.”
8:27AM:Libyan opposition leaders in eastern Libya have met representatives of the United Nations in Tobruk to discuss the humanitarian situation in opposition-held parts of the country. No announcements followed the talks, which took place as UN-sanctioned air operations took place elsewhere in the country.
8:22AM: More RAF jets have arrived at the Gioia del Colle airbase in southern Italy. The base is just over an hour’s flying time from Libya. The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy, is there: “Fighter aircraft from several nations in the coalition have been converging on air bases across southern Italy. Here at Gioia del Colle, which was used by the British during the Kosovo conflict, at least 10 combat jets have arrived. They are thought to be a mixture of typhoons and tornados. Other countries are using bases in Sicily and Sardinia, which is hosting aircraft from the United Arab Emirates. Britain’s jets are using Gioia del Colle because it’s close to Libya, allowing aircraft to patrol deeper into Libyan territory and to remain in its airspace for much longer periods without mid-air refueling.”
8:15AM: A senior US defense official has told the Associated Press that the air and missile strikes by international forces have reduced Libya’s air defense capabilities by more than 50%. That has enabled the coalition to focus more on extending the no-fly zone across Libya.
6:56AM: The Libyan government has asked the UN for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss the international military action in Libya. The meeting will now take place on Thursday, exactly a week since Resolution 1973 imposed a no-fly zone.
6:43AM: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has strongly criticised the bomb attacks on Libya and accused Western countries of applying double standards. Writing in the Ugandan newspaper, the New Vision, Mr Museveni said the West had been eager to impose a no-fly-zone on Libya but had turned a blind eye to similar conditions in Bahrain and other countries with pro-Western governments. Zimbabwe’s President Roberty Mugabe said the UN Security Council resolution authorising the military action should never have been passed.
6:16AM: Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s former deputy permanent representative to the UN in New York, tells the BBC that the UN-mandated operation to enforce a no-fly zone is going well. “The attacks are accurate enough, there have been no civilian casualties, and the morale of the people is very high,” he says.
5:26AM: The United States fired 20 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya in the past 12 hours, a military spokeswoman said early Tuesday morning from the Mediterranean Sea. A total of 159 Tomahawks have been fired by the United States and the United Kingdom since an international coalition started Operation Odyssey Dawn on Saturday. Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, a spokeswoman for the task force, also said one of the three U.S. submarines that participated at the beginning of the operation has since departed the area. She declined to say which submarine.
5:13AM: A US general has said that the air and missile strikes on Libyan military are likely to slow in the coming days. “My sense is that, that unless something unusual or unexpected happens, we may see a decline in the frequency of attacks,” Gen Carter Ham, the head of US Africa Command, told reporters in Washington. But he added: “We possess the capability to bring overwhelming combat power to bear, as we have done in the initial stages of this, where it’s been required.”
4:26am: Abdul Kerim, a member of the rebel National Council in Benghazi, tells the BBC that people there view the international action positively. “Everybody believes now that the United Nations resolution to protect civilians has been acted in a perfect way in Benghazi and everybody is looking now to do the same for Misrata and Zintan. Yesterday a lot of people contacted by telephone calls – different sides – begging United Nations to do the same protection for Misrata and Zintan.” Image: This image comes out of Tripoli. Anti-aircraft rounds fired in Tripoli [Reuters]
4:09am: CNN correspondent Nic Robertson in Libya has rejected a report by the Fox News network that he and other journalists were used as human shields by Col Gaddafi to prevent a missile attack on his compound. A story posted on the Fox News website on Monday said the presence of news crews from CNN, Reuters and other organisations interfered with British military operations. Read the FOX news article here.
4:02am: Libyan state television has accused Denmark of carrying out Sunday’s attack on Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, BBC Monitoring reports. “The offensive on Bab al-Aziziya has been commanded by Denmark,” the station said in a rare English-language bulletin at about 0120 GMT. The newsreader went on to accuse Denmark of having “for several years” led a “campaign against Muslims” through cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
3:50am: A woman in Tripoli says she was awoken this morning by a loud explosion from a nearby military base.After being shaken from her sleep around 2:20 a.m., she said she heard gunfire and went to the roof of her building to observe. “Then I heard the second explosion,” she said. She saw fire rising up from the direction of Mitiga Airport, formerly known as the U.S. Wheelus Air Base. She also said that people continue to live in fear of Gadhafi. “They’re afraid to come out because when they do, he attacked them very, very severely,” she says. “This is putting terror in all neighborhoods.”
3:32am: Richard Murphy, a former US assistant secretary of state, tells the BBC his hope is that “the Libyan military will not want to see their equipment and facilities destroyed, as they can be destroyed by air power – and that the rebel forces will show more training and capability than they previously have”. He adds: “It is in the hands of the Libyans. The outsiders are only going to be able to do so much.”
3:15am: Libyan state television reports that Libyans keep backing their leader, with crowds flocking to al-Aziziah square to show their support. It also says many world capitals are witnessing demonstrations in support for Libya while the “crusader enemy” continues bombing civilian targets.
3:14am: The Dutch government says Libya probably had inside information about the failed evacuation of a Dutch citizen by three Dutch soldiers held for 12 days by Libyan authorities. The Dutch citizen has since been released from the city of Sirte, and the three soldiers have also been freed with the help of Greek authorities.
306am: Only one in three people in the UK agree it is right for Britain to take military action against Col Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, according to a ComRes/ITN poll. It found that 43% of those surveyed disagreed with the action taken by the UK government and 22% were unsure.
3:00am: For those just joining us, explosions and heavy anti-aircraft fire have been heard in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, for a third night. The Libyan authorities said that a naval base and a fishing village near the capital were also hit by air attacks. The US, France and Britain have said that the Libyan leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi, is not being targeted despite the destruction of a building in his compound on Sunday night.
2:56am: Mohammed Abdule-Mullah, a rebel fighter in Libya, tells the Associated Press news agency that government troops stopped their resistance after the international campaign began. “But pro-Gaddafi forces are still strong,” he says. “They are professional military, and they have good equipment. Ninety-nine percent of us rebels are civilians, while Gaddafi’s people are professional fighters.”
2:33am: US Representative Ron Paul from the state of Texas tells US broadcaster CNN that President Obama should have consulted Congress before he acted in Libya. Mr Paul says America’s attack on Libya is unconstitutional and that the US is “not accomplishing what it set out to do”.
2:16AM: Al-Jazeera correspondent Anita McNaught says the government claims there have been heavy civilian casualties in coalition attacks on two major airports. Journalists have been invited to visit hospitals on Tuesday.
“Brazil laments the loss of life occurring in the conflict in the country. The Brazilian government has the expectation of the implementation of an effective ceasefire as soon as possible, with the capacity to guarantee the protection of the civil population, and create conditions for the path for dialogue. Brazil reiterates her solidarity with the Libyan people and their participation in the future politics of the country in an environment that protects human rights.”