Libya revolt as it happened: Wednesday

  • Anti-Gaddafi forces and loyalist troops have been battling for control of Brega, an important oil town in eastern Libya
  • Col Gaddafi has again blamed foreign media and al-Qaeda for the uprising, saying said there is a plot to control Libya and its oil resources
  • The International Criminal Court is to investigate the Libyan government's use of force against protestors
  • Britain and France are sending several planes to repatriate some of the tens of thousands of Egyptians who have arrived in Tunisia after fleeing the violence
  • You can also follow events on BBC Arabic
  • Live page reporters: David Gritten, Jude Sheerin, Anna Jones and Joe Boyle
  • All times in GMT

0000 Stay with the BBC News website for all the latest news from Libya and the wider world.

2358 This is where the BBC's live coverage of events in Libya end, after another tumultuous day and with Col Gaddafi still in power. Almost the entire world has come out in condemnation of the unrest. A massive aid operation is underway to protect and rescue the tens of thousands of desperate people stranded at Libya's borders.

2350 The UK Foreign Office British Abroad service tweets: "Swedish flight expected on 2 March was refused permission to land and returned to Malta. We do not expect return to Tripoli... There are some privately operated ferries operating. They are charging up to 1,700 EUROS for a ticket to Malta."

2346 Beyonce told AP she had donated the money as soon as she found out the private party in St Barts had links with the Gaddafi clan.

2341 Following on from the news about Nelly Furtado, singer Beyonce, who received $1m from the Gaddafi family for a performance in 2007, has told AP she donated the money to the Haiti quake relief effort more than a year ago.

2335 BintLibya has tweeted a link to a website which purports to show the names and some faces of people who have died in the unrest.

2333 Eman Abdulhadi tweets: "Can't wait to be standing on the shores of #Benghazi breathing in the smell of freedom!"

2328 Ian Lee tweets: "A number of pro-Gaddafi rallies today in Tripoli. Many at the rallies blamed foreign influences for the current turmoil... Our cab driver told us, after interviewing over a dozen people at a pro-Gaddafi rally, that 90% of them were police."

2315 The BBC's Chris Morris is on Lampedusa, the Italian island which has already faced a burst of illegal migration after the Tunisian unrest. The authorities there are now preparing themselves for a dramatic increase in numbers, he says, and appealing to the rest of Europe for assistance.

2310 Haim, an Egyptian at the border, told BBC Arabic he feels abandoned by his government. "You, my country, have sold us propaganda about 7,000 years of civilisation, but now I am stuck here I mean nothing to you. If this insult and ignorance came from someone I didn't know, I wouldn't care. But it comes from my country. It feels really, really sad."

2255 A second tweet from Libyan Youth Movement: "BREAKING: We did not hear a plane over the city, what sounded like bombing is now ceased, still unclear what it was."

2254 Libyan Youth Movement tweets: "BREAKING: Huge explosions reported in Benghazi right now, from numerous sources, we will try to find out what this is."

2250Human Right Watch's Peter Bouckaert describes on the organisation's website how an HRW team in Brega saw rebels struggling to load and fire the weapons they have acquired.

2245 Mr Zakyi said Egyptians were the largest expatriate group in Libya - numbering more than a million - and that not all were trying to leave as yet.

2240 Egypt's Foreign Minister Hossam Zakyi has told BBC Newshour that the number of Egyptians trying to get home is "a huge overload for our capacity".

2232 Libya Ahmed tweets: "We r protestin4freedom from #gadaffi. Once he's gone, we don't want to be a slave to anyone else. So pls world, keep your armies out!"

2224 Lord Mandelson, who now sites in the House of Lords, told the BBC: "Instead of shooting from the hip, in the way he's been doing, Mr Cameron would be better off building united international efforts to aid the Libyan people."

2222 In Britain, former Labour cabinet minister Lord Mandelson has denied having business or commercial interests in Libya. He was responding to suggestions from PM David Cameron that he should refer himself to a parliamentary watchdog over his alleged connections.

2218 With many countries announcing a freeze on Libyan interests, CNN has looked at where Libya has invested its oil money over the years.

2206 Time magazine correspondent Abigail Hauslohner tweets: "Lots of trucks w rebels, machine guns, anti aircraft guns moving twrd brega. Fight definitely not over."

2205Spain is the latest nation to announce it will send a plane to Benghazi with humanitarian aid.

2203 Ibn Omar tweets: "20 times more people died in #libya than #egypt, with #egypt having a population 13 times greater. yes #gaddafi, we r not #egypt or#tunisia"

2158In case you missed it, the London School of Economics confirmed it would give away the £300,000 Saif al-Islam has donated to it.

2144 Here's just one example of the personal suffering going on at Libya's border. Ike Emanuel from Nigerian tells Reuters his infant daughter died as his family spending three days crossing the desert to reach Tunisia: "She was a little baby of six months and she could not endure the cold. I am going home with nothing, going home again without my baby which can be my future."

2143Bloomberg has an interesting take on the legacy of Col Gaddafi's pan-African ambitions - a posture that saw him invest millions in development projects, sow the seeds of civil wars by training people like Charles Taylor, and end up labelled a "buffoon and a clown".

2131 Halwasa Guy tweets: "Never been prouder to be Libyan and I will never let any foreigner steal this revolution. We started it and we'll finish it. #libya #feb17"

2130 Al-Jazeera producer Evan Hill tweets: "Screengrab from the FlipCam footage I took, a second or two after we were bombed by Gaddafi's air force at Brega. #libya"

2127The Corriere della Sera reports that some of Italy's biggest companies - including Unicredit and Finmeccanica - are in a tight spot because some of their Libyan board members have disappeared since the unrest.

2125Mr Agnelli's comments came after Italian ministers said they were read to freeze Gaddafi family assets should the EU want them to.

2120Juventus president Andrea Agnelli tells reporters: "We are aware of what is happening in that part of the world. When we receive news of a freezing of assets we will take steps. We are not worried. There is nothing else we can do."

2119Italian football club Juventus says it is not worried about a possible asset freeze on the Gaddafi family's assets. Libya's state-owned investment company Lafico owns a 7.5% stake in the club.

2106 The CNN's Ben Wedeman tweets: "#Libya much different from #Tunisia, #Egypt revolutions. This is becoming a war."

2100 Libya_Awake_United tweets: "Be aware! there will be no civil war in #Libya, but there will be a fight against #Gaddafi's & his supporters till we got our FREEDOM !"

2045But Ramdani also reminds us that Col Gaddafi has not always been the scourge of Western leaders, saying he refers to Tony Blair as his "dear friend".

2042Journalist Nabila Ramdani, who has interviewed Col Gaddafi in the past, says she believes the Libyan leader is enjoying the current situation: "He's playing a game with the media. He's making more and more appearances. He's very comfortable in the role of the man who is once again defying the West."

2039Commander Abo-Iokma also says he believes many high-ranking officers want to defect: "They can't announce this because they're in a very difficult situation. They have to either kill their own people, or be killed themselves."

2037Libyan Air Force Commander Mohammed Mokhtar Abo-lokma, from Zawiya, tells the BBC's Newshour why he chose to defect: "I wanted to bring dignity to the Libyan people. I had secretly been against the regime for a long time. When I saw those young people protesting, I wanted to come out and say I'm against this regime. I didn't want to be used by the regime to kill my own people."

2028More on the (perhaps diminishing) prospect of a no-fly zone over Libya: China's UN envoy Li Baodong says no official proposal for such a zone has been made, adding that talk of a plan was "floating around in the lobby".

2026This is the same Col Gaddafi who warned in a speech earlier: "If you don't deal with the situation now, things will deteriorate. You will lose your dignity, your land, your freedom and you will lose your oil. You will lose the only oil that you live off. Unfortunately, the oil has started to decrease, decrease, decrease; tomorrow you will not even get your wages. Who is causing it? The armed gangs who took control of Benghazi, in particular."

2024Libyan state TV once again reporting that Col Gaddafi's regime will give "500 Libyan dinars (about $400) in financial support to every Libyan family each month".

2017It's not clear how many Rwandans are in Libya (see 2011 entry). Joseph Kabacyeza, director general of the diaspora unit in Rwanda's ministry of foreign affairs, tells our reporter: "[Those who arrived today] are the people we knew of. We knew them as students; 18 students and one family. We are not sure, there might be others. But officially this is the list we had of Rwandans living in Libya.

2013The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says the US is watching and waiting: we can't tell exactly how the next few days will develop - so what the US military are saying is that they're fully aware of the situation on the ground, and that they want to give President Obama all the options he can have.

2011The BBC's Geoffrey Mutagoma in Kigali finds some of the Rwandans returning from Libya had mixed feelings. One student told him: "I am so happy. But I have problems: I thought I would return home with my degree. But now, what can I say? I had only three months remaining! So I lost. I am a loser."

2009 British Abroad tweets: "#Libya: 2 Canadian planes to land in Tripoli 1300, 1500 Thursday; staff with clearances to pass landside onboard. Departure times to follow."

1959 Jeel Ghathub in Tripoli tweets: "#Gaddafi's outfit today was probably the least offensive one I've seen him wear. It was almost #Libyan."

1941 Adel Abdel Ghafar tweets: "When #libya is liberated, I think #egypt,#libya, #tunis should form a real #arab league for free Arab people."

1938 Ilkka Leitinen told Reuters simply pushing people back was not an option. "It's absurd to think that border control authorities in such a scenario would try to prevent people to get access to international protection."

1935 Some concern has been expressed that the crisis will lead to a huge influx of refugees into Europe. The executive director of the EU's border agency, Frontex, has said they are working with Malta on a response.

1929 The unrest has had a significant effect on global oil prices, partly over concerns pro-Gaddafi troops could try to destroy oil production facilities, BBC Business reports.

1919 Egypt's state media says the navy ship Halayib has set sail for Tunisia to pick up stranded Egyptians.

1918 Mr Kayal tells the BBC that unless urgent action is taken to help the refugees, the UNHCR is "fearful it will be nearing a humanitarian catastrophe".

1916 UNHCR spokesman Firas Kayal at the Tunisian border says the French and British planes en route to evacuate Egyptians are "exactly the kind of response we are hopeful the international community will do in the next few days".

1914 A reminder that all our coverage of the events in Libya - including backgrounders, analysis and profiles of key people - are on the Middle East and Arab unrest special report.

1903 Othman Darhobi in Tripoli tweets: "It breaks my heart, we R at the receiving end of humanitarian aid while tens of billions of our money frozen at US & European banks#Libya"

1857 If you're just joining us, welcome. We're bringing you live coverage of events as they emerge in Libya, with correspondents, analysis and news as well as blogs, tweets and articles from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

1854 Freedom Fighter in Tripoli tweets: "I think Thursday will be full of arrests 2 reduce the number of protests planned in Friday. if u didn't hear from me tomorrow then u know."

1853 BBC Monitoring have been looking at how the media in Egypt, Bangladesh and Tunisia - arguably the countries most affected by the refugee crisis - have been covering events.

1848 The Guardian's Martin Chulov tweets: "Motivation no problem with east #libya rebels. Discipline a different matter. Anti-aircraft weapons fired randomly all day."

1840 More quotes are emerging from the Arab League meeting earlier today. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said he hoped the "Libyan leadership will announce a brave plan that will avoid bloodshed and respect the will and rights of the Libyan people".

1835The BBC's Lyse Doucet in Benghazi tweets: "In Benghazi, at Courthouse, every rumour/report creates excited buzz. 'It's like we are on 50 cups of coffee' says one spokesman."

1827 The BBC's Defence and Security correspondent, Nick Childs, has been looking at the significance of the anti-Gaddafi victory in Brega. "Government forces still appear more organised, and to have more firepower, than the opposition. But whether that's enough to retake territory, especially far from Tripoli, is unclear, as they may lack logistic support. The events around Brega and Ajdabiya may bear this out."

1823The BBC's John Simpson says celebrating crowds around Brega made it almost impossible to get out of the town: "There were so many people, crowds blocking the streets, firing guns in the air - everyone who had a gun appeared to be firing in the air. There's no doubt in anybody's minds that they've achieved something important here today."

1821 The UN's refugee agency has added star power to its Libya campaign, with Angelina Jolie issuing a statement calling on all sides to "respect the fundamental right of people in danger to flee to safety".

1819 The Guardian newspaper's Martin Chulov tweets: "Encountered a Gaddafi jet today. Saw it fly in low towards us near Bregga. But wasn't expecting a bomb. Fell 200m away in sand."

1818 FCO says Gen Abidi asked about plans for a no-fly zone, and that Mr Hague expressed his concern for the situation.

1814 More from the British government - Foreign Secretary William Hague has spoken to a senior military leader of the opposition, Abdel Fattah Younes al-Abidi, says the Foreign Office.

1812 Peter Bouckaert of HRW says: "The people most in need are mainly from poorer countries in Asia and Africa, who remain stuck in Benghazi and on the border with Tunisia and whose governments have apparently to date been unable or unwilling to rescue them."

1811Human Rights Watch has issued a plea for an international effort to rescue people trapped at the border.

1809 The leaders also discussed how to deal with the humanitarian crisis and way of working with allies to protect Libyans from possible attacks, said Downing Street.

1807 Downing Street says UK PM David Cameron has been speaking to the leaders of Qatar and Abu Dhabi in recent days. They all agreed Col Gaddafi had "lost any remaining legitimacy in the eyes of the Libyan people and that a transition to a more open and democratic Libya was now essential".

1805 Miguel Marquez tweets: "Just landed in Tripoli. Uneventful flight. We were met by man in pickup on tarmac honking, waving a green flag and chanting at everyone deplanes. Looks like a couple thousand people still camping around the terminal hoping for a flight."

1800The BBC's UN correspondent Barbara Plett tweets: "#UN word in the corridor: No Fly Zone unlikley to be raised in SCouncil unless massive bombing of civilians by Gaddafi."

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1758 The Economist's Clausewitz blog has a fascinating rundown of the options open to international politicians, concluding: "Getting rid of a burning, raving and raging Mr Qaddafi may prove a lot more difficult both for the brave Libyan opposition and their anxious well-wishers in the West than was hoped only a few days ago."

1756 AP reports that the US postal service is no longer delivering mail to Libya, citing a lack of transport facilities.

1754 More from Ali, who spoke to the BBC from Brega, on the fighting there earlier today. "I was at home when I heard the sound of gun machines and started calling friends and family in Benghazi and Ajdabiya to ask for their support. They did come here to help and I am very thankful," he said.

1751 Arab League President Amr Moussa said the group "will not stand with its hands tied while the blood of the brotherly Libyan people is spilt". The League has already suspended Libya's membership.

1749 The Arab League has said it could impose a no-fly zone over Libya, in co-ordination with the African Union, if fighting continues, Reuters reports.

1746 In addition, UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told AP, there are "many, many terrified refugees" still in Tripoli, too scared to leave their homes.

1745 The UN says the there are now 180,000 people at Libya's borders trying to leave, AP reports.

1742 With Col Gaddafi still clinging to power, BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner has updated his analysis of who the leader can count on for his protection.

1734 MercyCorps aid worker Cassandra Nelson, who has just arrived in Libya, tweets: "Libyan driver who took us from border refused our payment: "No money. You come to help my country; that is enough."

1732 Veteran BBC correspondent Kate Adie has written in the Guardian about her experiences of working in Libya. "Farce mingled with fear. That is how the country ran," she says.

1727 Armando Guebuza, the president of Mozambique has told BBC Focus on Africa: "As a president, the situation in North Africa has made me understand that there is a need to make all dissent voices be heard, and to try to understand them and try to meet in whatever possible way their complaints, of course if we can do that."

1723 Ali in Brega told the BBC more than 20 people were injured in today's clashes in the town. He said "exactly eight" opposition fighters were killed and that anti-Gaddafi forces had killed three regime fighters.

1714 She said there was still "very great need" and that what onward transport for refugees was urgently needed to relieve the pressure on resources.

1712 Laura Padoan of the UNHCR has told the BBC they have now provided shelter for 12,000 people on the Tunisian border and are hoping to double that over next 24 hours.

1709 We now have a full story on the British and French attempts to help the "acres" of people stranded at the Tunisian border and take them home.

1706 The BBC's Lyse Doucet is in Benghazi. She says the initial jubilation among the anti-Gaddafi forces there has given way to uncertainty. "The realisation has sunk in that this is going to be a lot harder than the opposition thought," she says.

1656 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been speaking about what imposing a no-fly zone would really mean. "Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down."

1649 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the biggest concern in the US is that Libya could become "a giant Somalia" - that country has not had an effective government since 1991.

1644 Salah continued: "We are the real Libyan people. I don't want the country to but cut piece by piece like Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't want Libyans to fight Libyans. I don't want to see blood and insecure events in my country. There is a lot of challenges and problems which the regime has acknowledged. But there are improvements which have already started."

1630 The BBC has spoken to Salah in Tripoli, who says he supports the Gaddafi regime. He says the Tajoura and Janzour areas of the city are quiet, roads are secure and that schools and shops are open.

1641 A spokeswoman for UNHCR has just told the BBC that a young boy died at the Tunisian border overnight, as a result of the cold.

1639 Our colleagues in BBC Chinese say China has finished evacuating its nationals from Libya. Air Force transport planes have flown 3,000 people - including workers from Bangladesh and Nepal - from southern Libya to Sudan.

1637 The Gaddafi opponents were well-armed, using machine guns as well as artillery in their attempt to repel the regime's assault, says our correspondent.

1635 More from the embattled town of Brega. BBC Arabic's Mustafa Menshawy is there and said today's clashes between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces lasted several hours and involved heavy weaponry.

1633 Like many of these reports from across Libya, we've not been able to verify this. There are certainly lots of reports of sub-Saharan Africans facing persecution in Libya from people who suspect them of being mercenaries.

1632 Disturbingly, the Niger nationals said those people arrested are being made to choose between joining Col Gaddafi's army or being killed.

1627 The BBC's Hausa service has spoken to Niger nationals fleeing Libya. They said there are widespread reports of people from sub-saharan Africa being arrested.

1622 Pro-Gaddafi troops attempted to retake Brega earlier on Wednesday. There were reports that four people were killed.

1619 More on that airstrike on Brega - AFP reports that no-one was hurt but that the missiles gouged two craters in the ground only metres from where the anti-Gaddafi crowd had been celebrating.

1616The BBC's Jon Leyne in Benghazi says the government counter-offensive in the east appears to be a little less serious than thought: Everybody got a little bit over-excited this morning, but the situation is pretty much back to how it was before pro-Gaddafi forces moved into Brega.

1614 Reports are coming in from AFP that a fighter jet has fired two missiles at rebels in Brega, who were celebrating what they said was a victory over loyalist troops. There's no word on any casualties.

1610 We have a new gallery of images taken in Libya today, showing the scene at the border and in Brega, the town which was the scene of clashes between rival forces today.

1608 The first of three planes the UK has chartered to fly Egyptians home from the chaotic Tunisian border has left Britain, say officials. Another British-chartered plane will leave Italy for Tunisia later today.

1603The BBC's John Simpson in Brega says: "The town seems now to be entirely cleared of Col Gaddafi's troops. A senior officer sent down from the rebel headquarters in Benghazi speculated a short time ago when I spoke to him beside the road that the pro-Gaddafi troops might have run out of ammunition and been forced to withdraw. What is certain is that the university area is entirely clear of Col Gaddafi's men. I am now down by the sea shore, behind the university, where the heaviest fighting was a few hours ago. The only people here are excited rebels, very proud of what they have achieved. It has been quite a turnaround - you would expect a regular army would beat a rag-tag group of volunteers easily, but many of the opposition fighters were in the military until a couple of weeks ago. And, you get the distinct feeling that Col Gaddafi's men don't necessarily have their hearts in the job."

1559The attempt by Col Gaddafi's supporters to recapture towns along the coast in central Libya seems to have been checked for the time being.

1555Mr Maroni said the risk was that "the instability will favour the infiltration of international terrorism". "I don't want to predict future events, I just want to impart to you my concerns that what is happening in Libya can lead to a situation where the government of the country is much more like the situation we have in Afghanistan or Somalia, with respect to it being a country which is friendly to the West and to Italy," he added.

1554Earlier, Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told a parliamentary committee: "Today a 50m-long barge arrived with 370 people on board. In the last few days 57 barges have arrived in Lampedusa. If there were 1,000 of these barges with 370 on board that would make 370,000. Therefore you would only need 500 barges to transport 200,000 refugees - and we've had 57 in a week. I'm not going to underestimate the risk. And precisely because I don't underestimate it, we've begun to survey all the prefectures in Italy for all the places and sites which could host - temporarily of course - a very large number of refugees."

1552There is also increasing concern about the possible implications for southern Europe of the unrest in North Africa. The BBC's Matthew Price in Brussels says: "In Italy they fear the worst. The tiny Italian island of Lampedusa saw several hundred immigrants arrive overnight. They came from Tunisia. The worry is many more will follow. Either fleeing the unrest in Libya - or taking advantage of the chaos to attempt to get to Europe. The European Union's border agency, Frontex, is already working with the Italian authorities. A small force of some 30 officials, four planes, two helicopters and two ships are in place. We're told more could be sent were there to be a massive flow of refugees."

1549The British and French governments have announced plans to repatriate some of the tens of thousands of Egyptian refugees from the violence in Libya. They are currently stranded on the border with Tunisia; the United Nations has declared a humanitarian emergency. The UK is sending three planes which will fly between Tunisia and Egypt until the backlog is cleared. France is providing aircraft and a ship.

1545The opposition National Libyan Council has accused Niger, Mali and Kenya of sending troops to support Col Gaddafi. "There is evidence that the government of Algeria is taking part in this," spokesman Hafiz Ghoga told a news conference in Benghazi, according to the Reuters news agency. He earlier said the council wanted foreign states to use air strikes against "African mercenaries" in Libya.

1543Many foreign nationals are still trapped inside Libya, unable to afford to hire cars or lorries to escape from the chaos. The BBC's Martin Plaut, says: "Eritrean refugees are among this group. Most left Eritrea hoping to finally make it to Europe, but ended up in Libyan detention camps. A group that spoke to the BBC say they were freed from the camps by the opposition. Andebrehane Solomon Abraham said they were hiding inside Tripoli fearful of both the government forces and their opponents. 'We hide ourselves from the security forces. We are very frightened, even from the protesters,' he told me. The Eritreans had been abandoned by all humanitarian organisations, he added. The UN refugee agency said its activities had been hindered by the insecurity, but promised to try to contact the Eritreans, who said they were running short of food and had had to leave their places of hiding."

1537People from Niger who have fled Libya tell BBC Hausa that there have been widespread arrests of sub-Saharan Africans. They say they are being forced to either join Col Gaddafi's forces or be killed.

1532 The Guardian's Julian Borger tweets: "Pro-Gaddafi forces retake control of Tunisian border running up the Green flag and distributing juice to refugees, aid workers say"

1531Mrs Clinton adds: "USAid is focused on Libya's food and medical supplies and is dispatching two expert humanitarian teams to help those fleeing the violence into Tunisia and Egypt. Our [military] commands are positioning assets to prepare to support these critical civilian missions and we are taking no option off the table so long as the Libyan government continues to turn its guns on its own people."

1527US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells the Senate foreign relations committee that Col Gaddafi "must go now without further violence and bloodshed" and that the Obama administration is "working to translate the world's outrage into action and results". "Marathon diplomacy at the United Nations and with our allies has yielded quick aggressive steps to pressure and isolate Libya's leaders," she says.

1524Libyan opposition activists have uploaded on to the internet a newsletter they said was published in Zintan, a town to the south of Tripoli. It is one of several independent media sources to emerge in Libyan cities freed from government control. One of the newsletter's publishers, Muhammad al-Sid, told BBC Monitoring over the telephone that the newsletter was being distributed on the streets of Zintan. The three-page newsletter, called Intifada (Uprising), has been issued on a daily basis since Monday. The second issue of the newsletter can be viewed on Facebook .

1521French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has said he regards any preparations for a military intervention in Libya as unjustified "in the current context". "I ask you to think about the consequences a Nato intervention in Libya could have. It is probable that it could reunite Arab public opinion and peoples against the north of the Mediterranean. That is why this morning, in the North Atlantic Council, we expressed our reluctance," he added.

1519The BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris says: "Nouri al-Mismari is a man who knows Col Gaddafi better than most. He has been at his side for the past 30 years. He knows how the inner circle thinks. The former head of protocol has been in France since late last year - waiting for heart surgery - but he resigned last Monday, a decision that puts his family in Libya at risk. Mr Mismari's two daughters recently appeared on state television to denounce their father, but he said this meant they were in danger. He welcomed the international community's humanitarian efforts, but warned that it would prove a mistake for Nato to get involved in the revolt. He did, however, urge the international community to bomb the runways. The government's aircraft, he said, were the biggest danger to the rebellion. Mr Mismari fears the country is now heading towards a dangerous period. He said people should not expect Col Gaddafi to commit suicide or take the easy way out. He loved power, he added, and would fight to the bloody end."

1512The former head of protocol for Col Gaddafi has given a press conference in Paris urging the international community to bomb the runways in Libya. Nouri al-Mismari said he was opposed to any Nato or UN involvement in his country, but that it was essential that the international community ground the aircraft that were bombing sites in the east of the country.

1508Al-Jazeera's correspondent Tony Birtley, who is 10km (6 miles) away from the eastern Libyan town of Brega, says he has just watched a Libyan air force jet dropping at least one bomb. Brega is reported to be under control of opposition fighters. "Huge plumes of smoke are now coming out over Brega. All major oil and gas installations in the town are in the hands of the opposition. We believe this is the main reason for the attack," he says.

1508 The BBC's Jeremy Bowen, who watched the speech at the People's Congress in Tripoli, says: "Col Gaddafi arrived at the head of a long motorcade. He was driving himself in an electric golf buggy. When he entered the conference centre there followed around 10 minutes of cheers, clapping and general adulation. People said they loved him. Col Gaddafi's speech was to mark the anniversary of the introduction in 1977 of Libya's political system, which has no formal president, prime minister or parliament. Col Gaddafi reminded his audience that meant he was purely a figurehead who had no position from which to resign. He said a foreign plots was becoming clearer. To strong applause he said there was a conspiracy to recolonise Libya, and that, if necessary, they would fight to the last drop of their blood."

1505 In case you missed his marathon address on state television earlier, Col Gaddafi has again blamed foreign media and al-Qaeda for the uprising in Libya, saying it was a plot to control the country and its oil resources. He said terrorists were wreaking havoc, raping women and seeking sanctuary inside mosques. He asked the United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to investigate what had happened. He also denied that anti-government protesters had been fired on by the regime, describing it as "a total lie".

1457 The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, says he is opening a formal investigation into possible crimes against humanity in Libya. He says the decision came after a "preliminary examination of available information". Correspondents say the ICC's prosecutors often take months to decide whether to open an investigation into possible war crimes.

1451 The BBC's Lyse Doucet tweets: "more nervousness this morning #Benghazi after pro Ghadafi attacks in east but opposition now playing it down #Feb17 #Libya"

1450The opposition National Libyan Council in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has called for UN-backed airstrikes on African mercenaries used by the Libyan authorities. Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman, told a news conference that Col Gaddafi's use of foreign nationals amounted to an invasion. "We call for specific attacks on strongholds of these mercenaries," he was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying. "The presence of any foreign forces on Libyan soil is strongly opposed. There is a big difference between this and strategic air strikes."

1446 Different analysts have told BBC Mundo that Western countries have not come forth with a united perspective on how to handle the transition in Arab countries. Pedro Martinez Montavez, from Madrid's Universidad Autonoma, said there had been "a French response, a British response, a German response" in Tunisia. Ignacio Alvarez Osorio, writer of Arab affairs, said the Western response was "leaving much to be desired", with the lack of a concrete EU policy.

1443The chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee, John Kerry, has said the international community should be ready to implement a military no-fly zone over Libya, according to the Reuters news agency.

1438 John Hamilton, a Libya expert for African Energy magazine in London, tells BBC Focus on Africa that the situation is extremely confusing in the east of the country regarding the country's oil terminals, but that he believes Gaddafi's opponents are probably not yet in charge of oil exports in the region. "If you want to control Libya, you need to control its oil. So having control of these terminals must be a fundamental objective," he says. The expert warns that if Libya continues to export oil in the future, it might be a sign that Gaddafi is still receiving foreign payments.

1434The Libyan online newspaper Yosberides - previously called Quryna - quotes a medical source as saying that that four people have been killed and three injured in the clashes in Brega. At dawn, forces loyal to Col Gaddafi attacked the town's industrial zone, about 20km from the centre, it says. But the protesters managed to repulse the attack using rocket-propelled grenades, but later fled, it adds. A witness said the fighting was "intense".

1428The BBC's John Simpson in Adjabiya says: "Fighting still seems to be going on in Brega, down the road from here. And people in Adjabiya itself are expecting an attack directly after Brega has fallen. Adjabiya's defences are pretty skimpy - three elderly Russian tanks, plus three mobile anti-aircraft guns, which failed to shoot down a Russian-made jet which flew low over the huge arms dump on the edge of town twice this morning and dropped a bomb each time. The plane failed both times to hit the ammunition stores which were its target."

1421The Italian TV channel, Rai 24, has been showing footage of fighter planes flying over Brega, of shelling during the night of what appeared to be the local oil refinery, and of people fighting on the streets.

1419Two US amphibious assault ships, the USS Kearsarge and the USS Ponce, have passed through Egypt's Suez Canal, arriving in the Mediterranean Sea, Egyptian officials say. The US has said it is moving military assets closer to Libya. The USS Kearsarge can carry 2,000 marines.

1416 The Guardian's Martin Chulov tweets: "4 dead men just brought into bregga hospital. Frantic but short-lived attempts to revive them. Heavy weapon thunders in distance #libya"

1413 There are reports that Libyan air force jets have been bombing the town of Brega, where Gaddafi loyalists are clashing with rebels.

1409 The battle between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces seems to have raged to and fro all day in the eastern oil port town of Brega. According to reports, there has been fierce fighting as rebels cornered some Gaddafi loyalists in a university campus building.

1355 Attempting to play Western fears like a Stradivarius, Col Gaddafi says Libya prevents African migrants from flooding Europe, and stops al-Qaeda. "Our friends in Europe and the West should understand that when Libya is stable it acts as the guarantor of security in the Mediterranean basin," he says.

1350 Tunisia - which set off the so-called Arab spring revolts in January - has freed all its political prisoners, a lawyer who works for a prisoner rights group tells AFP news agency.

1345 Col Gaddafi warns piracy and jihad would come to the Mediterranean if Libya lost its stability.

1341 But it's not all blood, fire and retribution: Col Gaddafi has offered an amnesty to "misguided youth" who hand in their weapons.

1338 If you're just joining us, Col Gaddafi has been speaking for nearly two hours. A relatively relaxed performance, with some of the usual stuff (blames al-Qaeda, denies having assets overseas). He's also vowed to "fight until the last man and woman", and promised a bloodbath if foreign troops intervene.

1330 The Libyan Youth Movement tweets: "Gaddafi has lied about each and every incident, he is hoping to turn the events upside down, to blame the protesters on the death toll."

1330 Col Gaddafi: "All the Libyan people will take up arms to foil any attempt to threaten our oil... Let all those who threaten our oil hear this. We will get Chinese and Indian companies instead of Western companies."

1327 Col Gaddafi says there had been a multi-billion dollar development plan earmarked for Benghazi, but it was now on hold because of the revolt. The scheme would have made the other cities really jealous, he says, and left them asking, 'why Benghazi?".

1300 Amira Salah-Ahmed in Cairo, Egypt, tweets: "That's an awfully long speech from a president who says nothing is actually happening in the country."

1315 Col Gaddafi says any Libyan suggesting the country needs foreign aid is guilty of "high treason", and "considered to have opened the door to colonialism".

1310 Medical sources in the eastern town of Brega say 14 people have died in fighting between Libyan forces and the opposition, reports BBC Arabic's Mustafa Menshawy.

1307Col Gaddafi says his salary is just 465 Libyan dinars (£232; £378), and jabs two fingers forward, threatening to poke them in British PM David Cameron's eyes, over allegations the Libyan leader has hoarded assets abroad.

1302 That Gaddafi quote warning of a bloodbath: "Do they want us to become slaves once again like we were slaves to the Italians? We will never accept it. We will enter a bloody war and thousands and thousands of Libyans will die if the United States enters or Nato enters."

1257 The Libyan Youth Movement tweets: "Brega is now back in the hands of protesters - the free Libyan people!"

1256BBC Arabic's Abdullah Ghurab in Yemen says security forces near Aden have fired on protesters, killing two. Angry protesters later burned three police cars and an armoured vehicle. Authorities said they opened fire after security forces came under fire.

1245 Change in Libya, a Twitter account that claims to be based in Tripoli, says: "I don't get it. He doesn't realise that he's making people angrier by disrespecting their martyrs... he still hasn't even said sorry."

1253Col Gaddafi has warned "thousands of Libyans would be killed" in the event of foreign military intervention in Libya.

1251 BBC Arabic's Sami Sahmoud from Manama, the capital of Bahrain, says a large crowd is heading from Pearl Square to the interior ministry, demanding the release of political prisoners. Riot police is heavily deployed outside the ministry.

1248 Libyan state TV is back up and Col Gaddafi is still talking.

1246 Col Gaddafi's speech may have just finished, although we can't be sure as the signal from Libyan state TV has gone.

1240 Col Gaddafi says that as the revolt began a former Guantanamo detainee appointed himself emir of the eastern port city of Derna and starting executing a few people everyday, "the same way as [Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi".

1239A Libyan doctor on the Tunisian border tells the BBC World Service it is "almost impossible" to get medication and food to people in western Libya. He says pro-Gaddafi forces are stopping supplies from getting in.

1234He also criticises the imposition of sanctions on him and his associates. "The UN Security Council is not supposed to hand down resolutions on the grounds of media reports from outside Libya. How can the United Nations and Security Council base their resolutions on false reports?" he asks.

1233He says terrorists are wreaking havoc in Libya, raping women and seeking sanctuary inside mosques. "We ask the world and the United Nations to send fact-finding missions to find out where the dead were killed, whether they were killed in the street or in front of police stations and barracks, whether they were policemen and soldiers or civilians only? They will find that some of them are civilians who attacked police stations and army barracks; and policemen and soldiers who defended their positions."

1225 "The UN Security Council is not supposed to hand down resolutions on the grounds of media reports from outside Libya. How can the United Nations and Security Council base their resolutions on false reports?"

1226 The Libyan Youth Movement tweets: "Gaddafi has lied about each and every incident, he is hoping to turn the events upside down, to blame the protesters on the death toll."

1225 Oil production is now at its lowest, he says. "This is the first catastrophe which Saif al-Islam [Gaddafi] warned you about in his first address, and it has come to pass."

1221 He adds: "The mass media have falsified and magnified the reality. There are no peaceful demonstrations at all. It is a conspiracy. It is a conspiracy to gain control of Libyan oil. It is a conspiracy to gain control of Libyan territory. We will defend Libya, inch by inch, until our last drop of blood." He vows: "We will fight until the last man and woman. We will defend Libya from the north to the south."

1218Col Gaddafi tells his supporters: "We are now facing armed groups. We have left them under siege." They are in control of Bayda, Derna, and Benghazi, he says, and have "imposed a curfew on people with the force of arms". But he urges them to "refrain from fighting back".

1215 Sandmonkey, in Egypt tweets: "The crowd listening to Gaddafi look intensely bored. Not that different from us."

1213Col Gaddafi says al-Qaeda broke into prisons, recruited criminals sentenced to life in prison, and gave them weapons. He then asserts: "In Libya, there is no single political detainee or prisoner, for the simple reason that politics is in the hands of the people."

1209Al-Qaeda does not do demonstrations, he adds. They have no demands. "If you capture them, they will not give you any demands. 'Allahu Akbar,' they say. 'You are an infidel,' they say."

1206He says there was never a single demonstration in Benghazi, Bayda, or Derna - only attacks on local battalions and police stations.

1202Col Gaddafi says there were al-Qaeda sleeper operatives in the town where the anti-government protests began, Bayda. "The dormant cell in Bayda launched an attack against the local battalion and police stations," he tells the crowd. They were also in Zawiya, Benghazi and Misrata, but have now "slipped out of Libya". "They acknowledge no nationality. They believe the Islamic world is home to all," he adds.

1158A woman shouts into a conveniently-placed microphone: "You are the sword of Allah, you can defeat everybody, you cannot kneel in front of the enemy, we will not let you go, you cannot leave this country, you cannot leave, you cannot leave."

1157 Col Gaddafi tells the crowd: "If you walk to any corner of Libya, everything is recorded, everything is filmed. There are huge rallies in support of the leader, defying the whole world." He adds: "I was surprised with demonstrations supporting the leaders. Gatherings and demonstrations everywhere holding the photos of the leader just like the chants you just heard. Brothers? What is wrong? It is ok. Is there anyone attacking me? Is there anyone putting me in his crosshairs? I have no post to resign from like the presidents of other countries. I am not a prime minister or a president."

1156 Col Gaddafi tells the crowd: "If you walk to any corner of Libya, everything is recorded, everything is filmed. There are huge rallies in support of the leader, defying the whole world."

1154 HamdahAb tweets: "How much did he pay these people to chant for him?"

1153 The BBC's Paul Danahar in Tripoli says: "One person in the crowd, Mariam Ibrahim Gurgi told me earlier that 'Libya was like heaven'. 'There have been no big protests because all the people love Col Gaddafi,' she added. The crowd is made up of a mix of supporters, senior police and army officials and Tripoli-based foreign diplomats."

1151Col Gaddafi recounts a meeting with some supporters: "I asked them who would come after me? They told me it would be foreign forces - nothing from within Libya... The people told me that they were ready to die for me." The anecdote is followed by chants from the crowd of "We swear by God, we can never abandon our leader."

1147 The BBC's Paul Danahar in Tripoli says: "When he entered the tent set up for the People's Authority anniversary ceremony there was chaos. The crowd surged forward along with the media, and the security people had genuine trouble holding us and them back as the colonel punched the air in time with chants."

1144"No policy, internal or external, can be drawn up without the approval of the people," he says.

1143Col Gaddafi adds that he merely serves in an advisory capacity.

1141Col Gaddafi says: "These days, I am hearing my name abroad. I found it both funny and strange. What is to you? I carried out a revolution in 1969 then handed over the power to the people to later go and rest in my tent."

1138The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is "true democracy", he says, with no parliament and no executive. "The people are the master. They have the power in their hands. They have the authority and the decision... This regime, which the world does not understand, is the regime of the people's authority."

1136He adds: "The Libyan system is a system of people's authority, people's congresses and people's committees. It's not a system of president, government, political party or class. Whoever wants to verify that, let him come here and we will challenge him and stick our fingers in his eyes with force. We challenge him to come the Libyan people and find out the truth."

1135 Col Gaddafi is now speaking. He congratulates the Libyan people on the anniversary of the creation of the People's Authority in 1977. "I would like to remind the world that since 1977, the officers and I, have handed over the power directly to the people... We will gouge the eyes of those casting doubts over the people's authority."

1133While we wait for the brother leader's speech, Libyan state television is reporting that government forces are now in control of the airport and seaport of Brega. There have been clashes all morning in the eastern town. Opposition supporters say they have repulsed an attack and control the town centre.

1127A spokesman says he will address the crowd in a few minutes, after the national anthem (and some chants of "Allahu Akbar").

1124Libyan TV says this is a celebration of the 34th anniversary of the announcement of the establishment of the "people's authority". There is a microphone in front of Col Gaddafi, and he is reading some paper, so he might be speaking soon.

1124He has now sat down, but is still waving and smiling. The man is now shouting: "Be proud, o great one. Here is the hero among his masses, among the free people."

1121Col Muammar Gaddafi is appearing live on state television. He is waving to a crowd of supporters inside a building in Tripoli. One man is chanting: "Allah, Muammar, and Libya only!" He has not spoken yet.

1119Mr Moussa also paid tribute to the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which forced their long-standing presidents to step down, and "every revolution aspiring to freedom and peace". He said the Arab world was witnessing an "historic movement" which no-one foresaw. He said the region had decided to take its affairs into its own hands and to "reject dictatorial practices".

1112Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa has described the situation in Libya as "tragic and unacceptable" at a summit of foreign ministers in Cairo. Mr Moussa made a reference to the organisation's decision a few days ago to suspend Libyan participation in its meetings, as well as to the UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Col Gaddafi and his supporters, but he did not say any further action would be taken against, BBC Arabic reports.

1109Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has added his voice to those warning Western powers against military intervention in Libya. "You should know that if you launch a military invasion of any of the North African and Middle Eastern countries, the nations of the region will rise up and dig a grave for your soldiers," he said. "They want to take over the oil and gas reserves," he added.

1104The United States has not ruled out enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, but military commanders have warned that this would first require destroying the country's radar and missile defences. "It wouldn't simply be telling people not to fly airplanes," Gen James Mattis, head of the US Central Command, said on Tuesday.

1058Some Nato countries are drawing up contingency plans modelled on the no-fly zones they imposed over the Balkans in the 1990s, in case the international community decides to impose an air embargo over Libya, diplomats in Brussels tell the Associated Press. Nato has said any such move would require a clear mandate from the UN Security Council, which is unlikely because Russia has already rejected it.

1055At a summit in Cairo, Arab League foreign ministers have called on Libya's government to take "brave" decisions to end the violence and respect the "legitimate rights" of the people, the Reuters news agency reports. They also said the Libyan crisis was an internal Arab affair that did not require "foreign intervention". The ministers then stood in silence in memory of those killed in the anti-government protests which have swept the region in recent months.

1050Arab League foreign ministers are also discussing a draft resolution to reject foreign military intervention in Libya, the organisation's deputy secretary-general has said. Last week, Secretary-General Amr Moussa called for an end to the violence in Libya. He said the demands of Arab people for change were legitimate and called for talks, not confrontation.

1046Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also spoke to Col Gaddafi by telephone on Tuesday, according to Libyan TV. "President Chavez reconfirmed to the brother leader his solidarity and the solidarity of the Venezuelan people and the peoples of Latin America without exception with the Libyan people in its brave opposition to the conspiracy of suspicious circles, which is targeting the achievements gained by the great victorious revolution and its leader for the cause of freedom, and progress in Latin America in particular, and in the world as a whole," it said. "President Chavez told the brother leader that the Latin American peoples stand side by side and completely ready to make sacrifices in solidarity with the Libyan people and its leader Muammar Gaddafi in confronting this imperialist, Zionist conspiracy, which is targeting security, stability and its national unity."

1042Libyan state television has reported that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Saif al-Islam Gaddafi that "no-one can determine the fate of Libya from outside. "Erdogan told the brother Saif al-Islam that any intervention by the North Atlantic alliance, Nato, in Libya would not be legitimate, and that his country would take a stand within Nato," it said, according to BBC Monitoring.

1035 Iyad El-Baghdadi tweets: "#Gaddafi's military adventures into liberated areas can only mean two things; first, facing more attrition and demoralization... Second, less pressure on areas that can then openly revolt; as we saw in Mslata recently... Third, more conviction among liberated areas that they need to fight; resistance lines stiffen and plans are put to action. #Libya"

1033Elsewhere in western Libya, opposition supporter Ayman Ounallah told the BBC that he was looking towards the future. "We could have any government now. So we're trying to control our gain, to protect our city, to open our schools for our children, to do a lot of things to make our city grow now," he added.

1030Forces loyal to Col Gaddafi are continuing to fight back after losing a number of areas to the opposition in the early days of the unrest. An opposition supporter helping defend the city of Misrata, Saleh Abdulaziz, told the BBC World Service that fighting was continuing. "Misrata is now fully liberated from Gaddafi's regime. But there are some gangs on the outskirts of Misrata - they escaped to the greenbelt - and still some clashes. But they're still something like 10km from the centre," he said.

1027The Spanish government will freeze the assets of Col Gaddafi, his family and associates in accordance with international sanctions, an official tells the AFP news agency.

1019The UN refugee agency says "acres of people" are waiting at the Libyan border with Tunisia, and appeals for hundreds of planes to help end the gridlock.

1016The BBC's Jim Muir, at the border, reports: "The Tunisian government says at least 80,000 people have crossed the border from Libya in the past week. On Tuesday, more than 5,000 Egyptian migrant workers flooded across the frontier, joining thousands of others already stranded on the Tunisian side. Many thousands spent another cold night camping out around the border crossing, although a tented transit camp is rapidly springing up a few kilometres down the road. Relief officials admit they have been swamped by the sudden exodus; they're struggling to organise repatriation flights and ships, especially for the many thousands of Egyptian migrant workers. They are calling on their own government and military to do more to help get them home. It is believed there are a huge number of Egyptians, Bangladeshis and other workers still massed on the Libyan side of the border, or on their way there. So, if anything, this challenge is going to intensify."

1015Meanwhile, international relief organisations are struggling to cope with a huge movement of people fleeing across Libya's western border with Tunisia. Many of them are Egyptian migrant workers, thousands of whom are stranded in Tunisia, awaiting repatriation home. Officials say it is a humanitarian emergency and they are calling on the international community to take immediate action to help provide shelter and transport for the stranded travellers.

1008A spokesman for the opposition February 17th Coalition in Benghazi tells the Reuters news agency that its fighters are back in control of the town of Brega and its oil terminal. "We are probably going to call for foreign help, probably air strikes at strategic locations that will put the nail in his [Col Gaddafi's] coffin," Mustafa Gheriani said. "They tried to take Brega this morning, but they failed. It is back in the hands of the revolutionaries. He is trying to create all kinds of psychological warfare to keep these cities on edge."

1001 Andrew Hammond of Reuters tweets: "Anti-Gaddafi forces in Benghazi tell Reuters will likely ask for foreign air strikes, etc to help bring Gaddafi down - news just out"

0957Al-Arabiya has more on the rapidly-changing events in Brega. It reports that opposition forces control the north-eastern oil town, while government forces have regained control of its airport. Brega is close to Ajdabiya, the biggest town near the opposition stronghold of Benghazi. The BBC's John Simpson was broadcasting from Ajdabiya when a Libyan air force jet bombed a big ammunition dump nearby. Later, there was a second raid.

0954 The Guardian's Martin Chulov tweets: "Benghazi's organising committee has just formally asked UN to help end Ghaddafi's air strikes in eastern #libya"

0952 Tom Rayner of Sky News tweets: "Rebel sources in Benghazi claim Brega civilians mounting fightback against mercenaries & 10,000 armed rebels moving from Ajdabiya to assist"

0948Al-Jazeera is now reporting that opposition forces have re-established control of Brega.

0944The Associated Press is meanwhile reporting that the western towns of Gharyan and Sabratha, both near Tripoli, have also been retaken by government troops. A resident of Gharyan, a strategic town in the Nafusa Mountains, said it had fallen after dark on Friday in a surprise attack. Opposition supporters and soldiers who defected have been detained, the resident added. However, opposition forces have been able to repulse attacks in Misrata, to the east, Zawiya to the west, and the mountain town of Zintan to the south.

0939A Libyan government spokesman has said he believes the reports of a counterattack on opposition-controlled towns in eastern Libya are false, according to the Reuters news agency.

0938Witnesses in Brega tell al-Arabiya that the town is being targeted by "random bombardment".

0930 The Guardian's Martin Chulov tweets: "Rebels in ajdabiya say the're reading for counter-assault to take bregga 90km south. #libya #feb17"

0926Al-Jazeera is showing footage of Libyan opposition forces seizing Libyan army weapons, including "chemical weapons," in the eastern city of Bayda. The video shows one man talking about the weapons.

0922Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has admitted that "a few hundred people" have died in eastern Libya, including dozens of demonstrators killed by police in the early stages of the unrest, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro. "At the start of the clashes, which were essentially limited to Benghazi and Bayda, police officers panicked and killed dozens of demonstrators who were attacking police stations," he said.

0916An al-Arabiya correspondent is reporting that 14 people have been killed in Brega.

0915 CNN's Ben Wedeman tweets: "Was in Al-Brega yesterday. Clear if there was a counterattack, opposition forces would be hard pressed to stop them. #Libya."

0913Col Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, has told France Inter radio that the Libyan government is doing well and is in control of the situation. "Everything is calm. Visit Tripoli, go and see the other cities. There's a bit of disorder in the east, but it will be solved soon," he said. He also denied the air force had bombed civilian areas and blamed the opposition for encouraging the "whole world... to punish Libya". If order was restored, he promised, the government would introduce a new press law, a new law for civil society, a new civil code and a constitution.

0907The BBC's John Simpson in Ajdabiya says: "According to someone I spoke to by mobile phone in Brega a short time ago, fighting is still going on there as Gaddafi supporters take control of a small airfield in the town, which is attached to an oil refinery. Here in Adjabiya, people are expecting the pro-government forces to attack at any moment. However, an imminent offensive does not seem likely. Still, in the last few minutes, there was a second bombing raid of the morning by a pro-Gaddafi pilot on the enormous arms dump on the edge of town - the fifth in 12 days - though no real damage has so far been caused to it."

0902In a sign of mounting frustration among rebel leaders over Col Gaddafi's diminished but unyielding grip on power, rebel leaders here are debating whether to ask for Western airstrikes under the UN banner, the New York Times reports. "He destroyed the army; we have two or three planes," a spokesman for the council, Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, told the newspaper. "If it is with the United Nations, it is not a foreign intervention."

0855 The Guardian's Martin Chulov tweets: "Rebels say ghadaffi trying to grind them down. The unstoppable tide of revolution has become a war of attrition. #libya"

0852Italy's Industry Minister, Paolo Romani, warns: "There is a possibility, indeed a real possibility, that Gaddafi might make a desperate last-ditch attempt to free himself from the siege that he finds himself in." He was responding after being asked on Italian television whether he feared the Libyan leader's supporters might bomb oil fields.

0846The retaking of Brega is the first indication of a concerted counterattack by Col Gaddafi's supporters. Opposition forces had been firmly in charge of eastern Libya up to Brega, and some areas beyond, since shortly after the anti-government protests began in mid-February.

0838The former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lord Ashdown, tells the BBC that military intervention in Libya should not be ruled out. "At the start of the Bosnian war, very few of us were calling for intervention. By the end of the Bosnian war, nobody was opposed to intervention, because of what happened. And therefore making contingencies for a no-fly zone is absolutely right, absolutely proper. That isn't to say it should happen now. The thing that will determine this is not the military side but the politics."

0838The former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lord Ashdown, tells the BBC that military intervention in Libya should not be ruled out. "At the start of the Bosnian war, very few of us were calling for intervention. By the end of the Bosnian war, nobody was opposed to intervention, because of what happened. And therefore making contingencies for a no-fly zone is absolutely right, absolutely proper. That isn't to say it should happen now. The thing that will determine this is not the military side but the politics."

0836 The Guardian's Martin Chulov tweets: "We were in bregga yesterday and it didn't feel right. #libya #feb17"

0829The BBC's John Simpson, on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, says: "We just have seen one of the government's jets bomb the military arms dump here, sending a great plume of black smoke into the air. The opposition forces responded by firing anti-aircraft guns. There is an enormous amount of ordnance at the arms dump, some of it dating back to Libya's war with Chad decades ago. The rebels have deployed three tanks in the area and are just waiting to see what the loyalist troops at Brega will do - whether they will immediately attack Ajdabiya or wait for reinforcements."

0821Meanwhile, there has been a series of large explosions in Libya's capital, Tripoli. They were caused by oil tanker which had fallen on its side. It is not clear whether the incident is an act of sabotage. BBC correspondents staying in a hotel near the blasts report seeing a fire, smoke, police and fire engines. Traffic has been stopped and foreign reporters have not been allowed near the scene. One report said several journalists were attacked by residents.

0819The BBC's John Simpson in Adjabiya says: "Two hours ago, a column of about 100 vehicles descended on the town of Brega, which is about 65km (40 miles) west of here, and was being held by a few rebels for several days. When I was there on Monday, there were just four or five lightly armed defenders to be seen. The assumption is that Col Gaddafi's troops will later move on to Ajdabiya, a medium-sized town with a huge military arms dump on its perimeter, which must be an important objective for the loyalist troops. Three efforts have been made to bomb it in the past 12 days. Now the defenders, in a high state of excitement, expect to be attacked."

0811Forces loyal to the Libyan leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi, are staging a counterattack to the east of his stronghold of Sirte. They have taken the town of al-Brayqa. Opposition forces are now moving to meet the loyalist troops outside the town of Ajdabiya.

0806The Tunisian government says at least 80,000 refugees have crossed the border into Tunisia over the past week, fleeing the violence in Libya. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, told the BBC the situation was worsening by the hour. He said it was rapidly becoming a humanitarian disaster. Many more refugees are expected to make their way to the frontier area in the coming days. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said thousands of lives were at stake.

0802The UN General Assembly has taken the unprecedented step of suspending Libya from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The BBC's UN correspondent, Barbara Plett, says the unanimous decision has increased the international isolation of Col Gaddafi. Strong condemnation by the Arab League and African Union of alleged human rights abuses in Libya have significantly influenced the speed and unanimity of the international response to Col Gaddafi's actions, our correspondent adds. The suspension comes after the imposition of sanctions by the UN Security Council, the European Union and the United States.

0800 Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of events in Libya, where anti-government demonstrators are attempting to topple their ruler of the past 41 years, Col Muammar Gaddafi. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.

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