Libya revolt as it happened: Wednesday

  • Three members of the BBC Arabic team in Tripoli were arrested, blindfolded and handcuffed and beaten while reporting on the situation in Libya. The journalists were threatened with mock executions with live bullets fired past the head of one of the men
  • A Libyan envoy has made contact with the government of Portugal, which chairs a UN committee responsible for sanctions against Libya. He earlier met Malta's prime minister
  • State television has shown pictures of pro-Gaddafi supporters celebrating in the centre of the western city of Zawiya after days of fierce fighting to dislodge rebels from the town. The government says 95% of the town is now under its control. The rebels have denied the claims
  • Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has said his people will take up arms if a no-fly zone is imposed by Western nations or the UN, as many of the rebels have been calling for
  • You can also follow events on BBC Arabic
  • Live page reporters: Aidan Lewis, Olivia Lang and David Gritten
  • All times in GMT

2300We're now going to close down our minute-by-minute coverage of the crisis in Libya for the night. Thanks for following the latest developments with the BBC. Three members of a BBC News team working in Libya have described how they were tortured and subjected to mock executions after being detained by Col Gaddafi's forces; a Libyan envoy has made contact with the governments of Portugal and Malta; and Libyan state television has shown pro-Gaddafi supporters celebrating in the centre of the western city of Zawiya, following days of fierce fighting to dislodge rebels.

2254 Neal Mann tweets: "Worrying to hear of BBC team being beaten & subjected to mock execution in #Libya, thoughts with those working at great risk there to report"

2252 Channel 4's Jonathan Rugman tweets: "BBC team here in Tripoli appallingly treated for doing their job. And what they say about Libyan Zawiya detainees even worse."

2248State television in Libya has shown pictures of government forces celebrating in the centre of the town of Zawiya, after a battle to dislodge rebel fighters. The rebel Voice of Free Libya radio station has said the city is prey to "attacks, death, hunger and continuous shelling by Grad rocket launchers". It also urged Libyan youths to come to the rescue of Zawiya and "help their brethren" there. "Please, please come and help!"

2239More from BBC Arabic reporter Feras Killani, a Palestinian, on his Libyan captors: "They hit me with a stick, they used their army boots on me, and their knees. One found a plastic pipe on the ground and beat me with that, then one of the soldiers gave him a long stick. He knew who we were and what we were doing."

2234Ms Landor adds: "Despite these attacks, the BBC will continue to cover the evolving story in Libya for our audiences both inside and outside the country."

2232Liliane Landor, Controller of Languages for BBC Global News, says: "The BBC strongly condemns this abusive treatment of our journalists and calls on the Libyan government to ensure all media are able to report freely and are protected from persecution. The safety of our staff is our primary concern especially when they are working in such difficult circumstances and it is essential that journalists working for the BBC, or any media organisation, are allowed to report on the situation in Libya without fear of attack."

2224Feras Killani added: "When we arrived at the detention centre, one of the soldiers hit me in the back with his Kalashnikov. I dropped to the ground. They then asked me to put my hands behind my head. Then I started to hear the weapon being cocked. I thought I only had minutes to live, and that they would shoot me. I thought at that moment that if they had decided to do it, they would. I just closed my eyes and asked God to help me."

2222BBC Arabic reporter Feras Killani said: "In one cell there were about 10 to 12 prisoners. Two of them were Egyptians, the others Libyans. The majority of them were from Zawiya. I understood from other guys that they were fighters, or that they were accused of fighting against Muammar Gaddafi's army. Four of them were in a very bad situation. There was evidence of torture on their faces and bodies. One of them said he had at least two broken ribs. I spent at least six hours helping them drink, sleep, urinate, and move from one side to another."

2214BBC cameraman Goktay Koraltan said they saw other prisoners, mainly from Zawiya, in a much worse state than them were: "I cannot describe how bad it was. Most of them were hooded and handcuffed really tightly, all with swollen hands and broken ribs. They were in agony. They were screaming."

2209One of the team, Chris Cobb-Smith, said: "We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line - facing the wall. I looked and I saw a plain-clothes guy with a small sub-machine gun. He put it to everyone's neck. I saw him and he screamed at me. Then he walked up to me put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger, twice, the bullets whisked past my ear. The soldiers just laughed."

2203The BBC's Wyre Davies says: "Like many reporters seeking to get around Libyan government restrictions, the team from the BBC Arabic service was trying to get into the town of Zawiya, controlled earlier this week by anti-government rebels but under attack by Col Gaddafi's forces. After being detained at an army roadblock, the three men were taken to a military barracks in Tripoli where they were blindfolded, handcuffed and beaten. Reporter Feras Killani was singled out for repeated beatings and was repeatedly attacked because of his coverage of the Libyan uprising. After being released, all three team members told us that they had feared for their lives. There were at least two mock executions, with live bullets being fired past the head of one of them men. Although a senior Libyan government later apologised for their treatment at the hands of the army, the men have now left the country."

2200Three members of a BBC News team have left Libya after being detained and mistreated by the Libyan military for 21 hours earlier this week. The team was among several reporters trying to get to the besieged town of Zawiya on Monday, when they were detained about 10km (6 miles) south of the city.

2152 Rawya Rageh tweets: "#ElBaradei qualifies his statement saying he will run for president "if people are truly represented" #Jan25 #Egypt"

2148Mr ElBaradei tells a live talkshow on the ONTV channel: "When the door of presidential nominations opens, I intend to nominate myself."

2145Mohamed ElBaradei, the leading Egyptian opposition figure and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has announced that he intends to run for president of Egypt, reports say.

2138Any contact with the Libyan government would appear to be at odds with a joint call on Wednesday evening from UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and his German counterpar. In it, Mr Hague urges the EU to explore ways of putting further sanctions on Libya and calls on the bloc to adopt a united front, and agree a declaration that member states "will not work or co-operate with Gadaffi, and that he has to step aside to allow for true democratic transformation of the country". Our correspondent says that so far, Europe has seemed united on Libya. Col Gaddafi may be attempting to create some division, he adds.

2134Our correspondent adds: "It is not known where Mr Siyala - Libya's secretary for international co-operation - is now. On Thursday in Brussels, both Nato and EU foreign ministers hold meetings on the situation in Libya. A Nato source said the organisation had no plans to meet any Libyan officials. An EU source said they had had no contact with the 'alleged emissaries'."

2133The BBC's Matthew Price in Brussels says: "It looks as if Col Gaddafi is attempting to start a dialogue. The most intriguing thing is that parts of Europe appear willing to listen. An EU source said they knew in advance of the meeting between Portugal's foreign minister and the Libyan official. It was the Libyans who requested it we are told. And it is clear why they would. Portugal currently heads the UN Security Council's sanctions committee on Libya.

2131Portugal's Foreign Minister had an "informal meeting in a Lisbon hotel with a Libyan emissary, on the request of the latter, in order to receive information on the situation in Libya," the Portuguese government has said, according to the Reuters news agency. It did not name Col Gaddafi's envoy, but it is believed to have been Mohammed Tahir Siyala, who earlier met Malta's prime minister and who will hold talks with Greece's deputy foreign minister in Athens on Thursday.

2122 Sultan Al Qassemi tweets: "It seems Oman's Sultan & Morocco's King (the two extreme ends of the Arab World) have learnt best how to deal with their people's demands."

2118King Mohammad of Morocco, however, has promised there will be comprehensive reforms in the country and announced that a committee has been set up to review the constitution. In his first speech since nationwide anti-government protests were held last month, the king said individual and collective liberties were to be expanded. He also called on people to take part in what he called constructive and fruitful dialogue. Protesters took to the streets after similar protests in Tunisia and Egypt, demanding the king hand over some of his powers to a new government and make the judiciary more independent.

2112Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, nearly 200 Shia Muslims have taken part in an anti-government protest in the eastern city of Qatif. They shouted: "We want freedom." A "day of rage", inspired by the wave of uprisings across the Arab World, is planned on Friday to demand the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy. Prince Saud al-Faisal has warned that the government will "cut off any finger" raised against it. "Reform cannot be achieved through protests," he said. "The best way to achieve demands is through national dialogue."

2106The Greek government has now revealed that Mohammed Tahir Siyala will meet Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Dollis in Athens on Thursday.

2059 Tripolitanian tweets: "WOW just saw one of my friends in one of the videos of the liberators, GOD BLESS YOU STAY SAFE! #Libya"

2052Meanwhile, another Libyan government envoy - believed to be Col Gaddafi's head of logistics, Abdul Rahman al-Zawi - flew to Cairo for talks with the Egyptian military authorities. The Greek foreign ministry has said an envoy is due in Athens for talks on Thursday.

2046Mr Siyala later travelled to Lisbon, where he met meet Portugal's foreign minister. An EU spokesman has said the Portuguese foreign ministry contacted them earlier in the week to sound out the idea of receiving a visit from a "reform-minded" member of the Libyan government.

2044Nato has confirmed that the two Libyan-registered private jets which left the country on Wednesday - one bound for Cairo, the other bound for Malta - are still in European airspace. The plane which landed in Valetta was carrying a Libyan government official, Mohammed Tahir Siyala, who held talks with the Maltese prime minister, a Maltese government spokesman told the BBC.

2035In a joint letter with Germany, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says the upheaval in Libya - the EU's "southern neighbourhood" - presents Europe with a challenge and opportunity on a scale matching the revolutions of 1989, the Press Association reports. The letter says that the EU should agree a declaration that "the EU and its member states will not work or co-operate with Gaddafi and that he has to step aside to allow for a true democratic transformation of the country".

2027Back to Libya and the dramatic drop in its daily oil output. Chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation Shokri Ghanem tells reporters that this is "mainly due to local and foreign workers leaving the plants to go home". He says his priority "is to maintain the integrity of the installations". He adds that the huge explosions that rocked oil storage tanks in Ras Lanuf today will not have a big impact as it was a small facility.

2020From Libya to events elsewhere in the region. In Morocco, King Mohammed VI makes a TV address to the nation, pledging a "comprehensive constitutional reform", Morocco's RTM TV reports. The kings says that "the scope of individual and collective liberties will be expanded".

2013The continuing unrest in Libya has cut the country's oil output from 1.6m barrels per day to 0.5m, a senior Libyan official tells Reuters.

2007More on the meeting between Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado and Col Gaddafi's emissary in Lisbon on Thursday, as reported by the Lusa news agency. It says the meeting has been set up with the knowledge of EU high representative Catherine Ashton, in preparation for the extraordinary EU foreign ministers' meeting on Thursday and EU leaders' summit on Friday.

1957 ShababLibya tweets: "Gaddafi was desperate to reclaim Zawia by today and planned to take the journalists to show the world it is his."

1953UN agencies - who remain shut out from Libya for security reasons - are increasingly alarmed at reports of mounting casualties in the country, UN officials say. "We are pretty blind. We don't seem to be getting a clear picture of what is going on there," one UN official, who has asked not to be identified, tells Reuters.

1943More from Ahmed Jibril's interview with the BBC. He says: "The international community are not doing us a favour actually, they are responsible, they should shoulder their responsibilities towards the civilians in Libya. We are in the edge of catastrophe in Zawiya, Misrata and other cities in the eastern part of Libya. People in Zawiya and Misrata have been surrounded by Gaddafi security forces, they will run out of food and medical supplies in the next few days, therefore the international community must act urgently. Air strikes is one of the ways they can help the Libyan people."

1940 ChangeInLibya tweets: "IF NFZ WILL BE USED AS AN EXCUSE TO INVADE US THEN DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT #libya #feb17 #gaddaficrimes"

1936Ahmed Jibril, an adviser to Libya's rebel Transitional National Council, tells the BBC's HARDtalk programme that any intervention "should be limited to a no-fly zone and air strikes against Gaddafi's camps where missiles have been launched against the people of Libya". He also stresses that "there's also a huge consensus among the Libyans that they don't want any deployment of any foreign soldiers".

1926 Bint Libya tweets: "#Zawya is under the control of the people! How many times have you tried and failed #Gaddafi?"

1923Ibrahim, who earlier said Zawiya's main square had been retaken by rebels, has told the Reuters news agency that the government brought in supporters of Col Gaddafi for a rally on Wednesday afternoon, and that they are now caught between rebel and loyalist forces. There was no fighting in the city now, he said.

1916Meanwhile, at least 400 people have been killed and 2,000 wounded in eastern Libya since the uprising against Col Gaddafi began last month, medics have told reporters in Benghazi. When asked about why their toll seemed lower than that estimated by the United Nations, Dr Jibril Huwaidi said: "We counted the people who are dead and wounded in our hospitals." But he also noted that many corpses had yet to be recovered from bombing sites.

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1909Khaled, who is from Zawiya but is living in London, tells the BBC: "I was able to talk to my family today at 1100 GMT (1300 Libyan time). They say they heard some bombings and shooting, but it wasn't as bad as two days ago - they live outside the centre of the city. I also wanted to add that those images that Libyan TV have been showing of Gaddafi troops recapturing Zawiya are not accurate - they are sitting outside the city, not inside Martyrs' Square, which is a mile-and-a-half away. He is putting on a show of civilians chanting that they recaptured the city, but they haven't gone in."

1904A rebel fighter in Zawiya has just told the Reuters news agency that they have retaken the western city's main square. Pro-Gaddafi forces were now 1km outside the city, he said.

1859Asked to elaborate on the US government's belief that UN Security Council Resolution 1970 allows it the "flexibility" to arm Libyan rebels, a state department spokesman tells reporters: "My understanding is that 1970 does have a waver aspect to it. I believe it could be, given the consensus, used in this case." But the spokesman notes that the approval of the UN sanctions committee will probably still be required.

1853The BBC's Jon Leyne in Benghazi says: "In the other key battle of Wednesday, rebel fighters suddenly broke out of the oil town of Ras Lanuf, with the help of heavy weapons they seem to have captured or found somewhere. They pushed a number of miles west before being pushed back almost as quickly by government forces. There has been a huge explosion at the oil terminal at Ras Lanuf. It is not clear who caused it. Both sides are blaming each other."

1849Our correspondent adds: "As the international community continues to debate the possibility of introducing a no-fly zone to stop government warplanes bombing rebel-held towns, Col Gaddafi remains unrepentant and defiant. Addressing tribal supporters on Tuesday night, he said he had no intention of resigning and again accused Western powers of trying to break Libya apart in order to get at its vast oil reserves."

1846The BBC's Wyre Davies in Tripoli says: "Pictures on Libyan state television on Wednesday evening showed groups of jubilant Gaddafi supporters celebrating in Zawiya. Government soldiers said 95% of the town was now under their control. Even if there are pockets of resistance, it is unlikely the rebels will be able to hold out for long. The regime will not allow foreign journalists to go anywhere near Zawiya, but credible reports said several people including civilians had been killed. Other reports talked about young men being rounded up by government troops. The offensive against Zawiya is part of a concerted effort by the Gaddafi regime to consolidate its power base in the west of the country."

1843Forces loyal to Col Gaddafi have been pounding towns held by rebels east and west of Tripoli throughout the day. The fighting has ebbed and flowed, and with journalists denied access to frontline areas it has been hard to verify the rival claims. The most intense action has been for control of Zawiya, where doctors say at least 40 people have been killed. The Libyan authorities claim to have captured most of the town.

1840 NBC News reporter Richard Engel tweets: "#libya.. Propaganda and misinformation over decades corrupts the mind, its obvious in tripoli"

1834Libyan government representative Mohammed Tahir Siyala met Maltese Prime Minsiter Lawrence Gonzi on Wednesday to explain its "position on recent events", before flying on to Portugal, the Maltese government has now confirmed. "The prime minister reiterated the Maltese government's position... and insisted that all violence has to stop immediately," a statement added.

1826More on that tweet: President Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, has just told a news conference that US officials believe the UN arms embargo on Libya does not prohibit weapons shipments to the rebel-held east.

1825 Reuters correspondent Andrew Quinn tweets from Washington: "Ah..White House says it believes #Libya arms embargo "allows flexibility" to permit arming rebels..wonder if Sec. Council agrees."

1823US President Barack Obama's top aides are due to discuss the crisis Libya at a meeting on Wednesday, as the White House considers whether to intervene militarily. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen will attend the meeting. Mr Obama is not scheduled to be there.

1816Several oil installations in the eastern town of Ras Lanuf are on fire after being bombed by Libyan government warplanes, a rebel spokesman tells the AFP news agency.

1813Mr Dabbashi also said it was "very important to impose a no-fly zone so to prevent aerial attacks on the Libyan people who are fighting against Gaddafi". The rebels needed anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons, he added.

1810There are reports that a private jet owned by Col Gaddafi has landed in Cairo carrying his head of logistics, Abdul Rahman al-Zawi. It is not clear why Mr Zawi is in Egypt, but the former Libyan deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who defected last month, has told the BBC World Service that Mr Zawi too should change sides: "I would advise him to just leave Gaddafi and side with the Libyan people because if Gaddafi is in his last days it is very important to disconnect himself from Gaddafi as soon as possible."

1803Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, however, has agreed to meet Col Gaddafi's emissary in Lisbon on Thursday, according to the Lusa news agency.

1801Another of the rebel council's representatives, Jibril al-Walfarvi, meanwhile met Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey in Geneva. Ms Calmy-Rey, who is also the foreign minister, expressed concern about the difficult situation faced by civilians, who she said were suffering from the "targeted and abhorrent violence of the Libyan leaders".

1757French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to meet two representatives of the rebel Libyan Interim Transitional National Council in Paris on Thursday, a spokesman says. Mahmoud Jibril and Ali Issawi earlier urged the European Union to recognise the council as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

1748A doctor in Misrata told the BBC the situation there is quiet. They have been working 24 hours and are running low on medical supplies like anasthetics and milk for children, the doctor added.

1744British Prime Minister David Cameron has said a no-fly zone over Libya would need the widest possible international backing. Mr Cameron told the Commons that every eventuality was being planned for, including a no-fly zone - which would involve the destruction of Libyan air defences. Russia and China are said to be unenthusiastic about the idea.

1742A witness from Zawiya said there was a fresh, heavy bombardment on the west Libyan town on Wednesday evening, Al Arabiya television reported. The channel did not give further details, according to Reuters.

1733An engineer who works at Sidrah oil terminal - which was bombed earlier on Wednesday - says the air strikes damaged storage tanks and other facilities such as power and water plants, Reuters cited Al Jazeera TV as reporting. Mohamed al-Hashemi, a maintenance engineer at the terminal near Ras Lanuf, told Al Jazeera he saw government warplanes attacking the terminal and said four storage tanks had exploded in the oil complex, each storing about 150,000 gallons. Pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces have blamed each other for the incident.

1727In Sudan, heavy clashes between a major rebel group and the army in central Darfur have killed 15 rebels and two soldiers, army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad said in a statement, according to AFP news agency.

1722Unrest has meanwhile been continuing in Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh is resisting weeks of protests against his rule. A BBC Arabic Correspondent in Yemen has reported that, according to sources, one person was killed and another injured as unidentified militants opened fire against pro-Yemeni president campaigners in the Valley of Hadrmawt, in southern Yemen. The militants ran away in a car. They were flowing a "separatist flag" and the security forces are hunting down for them.

1716State-owned Libyan TV is airing what it claims are "live" pro-Gaddafi demonstrations in Zawiya.

1714A ship carrying wheat flour has arrived in the rebel-held Libyan port of Benghazi and trucks carrying more aid are due to reach the terminal in the coming days, the World Food Programme (WFP) has said.

1712A member of the rebel forces has told Reuters that their movement said it did not foresee any problems with obtaining more weapons, and said it had been promised help from Qatar and other countries. "Our military committee is assessing what we need. A no-fly zone will be great, but our troops will also be facing tanks. We will see whether we need to make (arms) purchases. I do not see getting arms as an issue. Qatar and many other countries have offered to help," said Mustafa Gheriani.

1709A BBC correspondent in Ras Lanuf says clashes have killed at least two people and injured 17, but the toll is expected to increase. There is also alot of confusion among rebels, and many ambulances rushing to the oil plant which exploded in an attack, our reporter says.

1702 Channel 4's Jonathan Rugman tweets: "Government press trip to Zawiya suddenly cancelled while vans were revving to go. State TV now shows pro-Gaddafi rally there. Official explanation for Zawiya trip cancellation: oil minister giving press conference instead. Hotel full of angry hacks again."

1701 ABC journalist Miguel Marquez tweets: "#Libya govt finally inviting journos to "visit" Zawiya west of Tripoli. It's near dark and they r trying to rush us onto a bus. Pass."

1700The announcement by 50 Cent follows the footsteps of many other artists who have made similar gestures. Last week, Beyonce, Usher, Mariah Carey and Nelly Furtado all announced donations to charity in the wake of their participation in private concerts connected to the Gaddafis.

165850 Cent says he will make a donation to charity after it was revealed he performed at an event linked to the clan of Libyan leader Col Gaddafi. The rapper is donating money to UNICEF to help relief efforts in Libya, AP reports. He had performed at a private event during the 2005 Venice Film Festival that was later linked to Col Gaddafi.

1654The Libyan authorities have offered a bounty of 500,000 Libyan dinars ($400,000) to anyone who captures rebel leader and former justice minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil and hands him in. In an urgent headline bar, Libyan state TV also announced a reward of 200,000 dinars ($160,000) for information leading to the capture of Mr Abdel Jalil, who was described as an "agent spy".

1648Libya's deputy ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told the BBC World Service a victory for the rebels is "a matter of time". Mr Dabbashi, who has turned against Col Gaddafi, said the rebels just needed more time to organise themselves better. "The people who demonstrated never thought about war. But because they were faced by bullets they had to reorganise themselves as a kind of army. In a few days it will be a real national army, and it will advance quickly towards Tripoli." Mr Dabbashi said he expected a mayor battle over the town of Sirte to take place in the next few days. "Gaddafi will try his best to defend Sirte to the last man, because he knows that if Sirte falls, it will be the end of the regime in Tripoli."

1645 Opposition group Libyan Young Movement tweets: "AJ Caller claims %80 of port of Sidra was destroyed claims he saw the air strikes on the port, oil tanks, petrol stations & water systems."

1644The rebel told Reuters: "We have pulled back and they are inside the square but we will attack them again and have it back. We will do that tonight. This is not the end."

1641Pro-Gaddafi forces entered the main square of Zawiya on Wednesday, as rebels pulled back, an anti-Gaddafi fighter told Reuters.

1640A doctor in Zawiya says at least 40 people have died in fighting on Wednesday, probably many more, reports Reuters.

1637Al Jazeera TV is reporting that several of Gaddafi's soldiers have been killed in the Libyan town of Zawiya, including a general and a colonel, according to Reuters.

1634A Libyan government emissary is en route to Lisbon for meetings with the Portuguese government, an EU source has told AFP news agency.

1631For the latest images of the conflict in Libya,
to view our gallery.

1628As the debate over the possibility of a no-fly zone continues, Imam Bugaigis, a member of the anti-Gaddafi forces, told Reuters: "We are concentrating our diplomatic efforts and working hard. But as always, they (foreign powers) are reluctant. One day we think they will take action soon... This is why there are diplomatic efforts going on, and on the ground also. But we know the forces are unequal. This is why we want at least the no-fly zone but it is taking all this time. It is incredible. Hundreds are dying every day and they don't want to take any action."

1626Simon Brooks from the International Committee of the Red Cross says his team in Benghazi is trying to look after wounded fighters returning to the town from the frontline. "We're talking about 20 to 25 people a day." Mr Brooks told the BBC World Service that he is also concerned about "the large numbers of weapons and ammunition stored throughout the country. It appears that the general public not only has access to them but can be affected by them. There was a significant explosion in one ammunition dump just on the other side of Benghazi airport with quite a few casualties."

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1623 Richard in Penzance, writes: "Misrata is desperately short of medical supplies, informed residents have said, with operations taking place without even anaesthetics. They have a port and are willing to pay for supplies as they have stated. While the arguments go to and fro about a no-fly zone, can't the BBC put some of its weight and news coverage onto this aspect of things. Simple humanity, not diplomacy could operate here to get the vital supplies in before Misrata becomes another Az Ziwaya. I cant even imagine what treatment wounded rebel fighters there will receive from Gaddafi's forces once they take the hospitals! "

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1619Malcolm in Princeton, writes: "I am absolutely outraged by the dithering of the US and European allies over the legalities of a no-fly zone, all the while seemingly oblivious to the fact that Zawiya has been turned into another Stalingrad. I am ashamed and sickened by our military and politicians who speak grandly about how great our country and our democracy is on the one hand and then when people are begging for our help to stop the slaughter they look at their shiny shoes and blather some weak excuses about how difficult it is to make such a decision. A friend in need, is a friend in deed. Get involved and get involved now. Give the freedom fighters in Libya what they ask for. Should they end up being crushed, Obama will loose the next election. "

1618Omnia from Manchester, who has family members living in Zawiya, told the BBC she hadn't been able to get through to Zawiya for the past three days as phone lines had been cut and internet had been down. "Phone lines are also being monitored, so even if we do get through we can't get much information from the town. But the last time we were able to speak to relatives in Libya, we have heard of the deaths of some family members," she said.

1611For more on squatters taking over the London home of Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, read our article here.

1606 James Copnall in Sudan says some of the protestors were beaten by riot police and plain-clothed security officers using rubber truncheons. The opposition coalition called for people to gather in the square to applaud the recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Some but not all of the opposition leaders are calling for President Omar el Bashir to be overthrown.

1603As the crisis continues in Libya, other countries are holding their own protests inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. In Sudan, the BBC's James Copnall reports that protesters have been arrested for the second day straight as they tried to hold a rally. The demonstration was called by a coalition of opposition parties.

1602Gulf News reports that eastern Libya has only one week's supply of fuel left for domestic consumption. "Eastern Libya's supply of petrol is fast running out and reserves are expected to be depleted within one week as refineries have cut down operations," it states. Read the article here.

1549A BBC correspondent in Ras Lanuf reports that clashes there between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces have left at least two dead and 17 injured. Our reporter says there is confusion among rebels, and there are many ambulances at the site of an oil storage facility explosion.

1540A spokesperson for the Topple the Tyrants group said: "We didn't trust the British government to properly seize the Gaddafi regime's corrupt assets, so we took matters into our own hands. The British government only recently stopped actively helping to train the Libyan regime in 'crowd control' techniques," the spokesperson claimed. "As well as training the regime in repression, British corporations are also guilty of providing the same weapons that are now being used by Gaddafi against the Libyan people."

1534A group calling themselves Topple The Tyrants have occupied the £10m Hampstead Mansion of Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, in solidarity with the Libyan people (see 1452). The mansion is managed by Mr Gaddafi through a holding company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

1531Rebels in Benghazi have announced through loudspeakers that rebel forces have taken the town of Bin Jawad, according to Reuters. But the report cited one source as saying that rebels had approached Bin Jawad but not yet reached it.

1523Libyan state TV is reporting that pro-Gaddafi groups are moving towards the centre of Zawiya, but has not shown footage of such movements. Earlier reports said rebels were still holding out in the centre of the city, which has been under heavy attack by Col Gaddafi's forces for several days.

1515Libyan state TV has interviewed people it says are residents of Zawiya. One old woman says: "Ever since Muammar [Gaddafi] came [into power] and we have seen nothing but happiness and well-being. May God protect him."

1505So, just to clarify on those reports of attacks and fires at oil facilities near Ras Lanuf, both pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces are accusing each other of targeting the storage tanks. Rebels have also accused pro-Gaddafi forces of hitting an oil pipeline leading to the area.

1501Yemen's Sanaa Suhayl satellite TV has been carrying the following "breaking news" screen caption:"Al-Mahra: Sheikh Mohsen Yasser, member of the permanent committee, announces his resignation from the General People's Congress, calling on the president to step down and relinquish power to an independent national council."

1458Reuters reports that Libyan government envoys met officials in Malta on Wednesday before flying to Portugal. Another Libyan plane was on its way to Brussels via France, the report says.

1456Scores of rebels have been retreating in vehicles back to the oil port of Ras Lanuf following sustained artillery and air strikes, AFP reports.

1452 Neal Mann tweets: "Metropolitan Police confirm Saif Gaddafi's £10 million house in north London has been occupied"

1447Another tweet on fires at al-Sidr, which is just outside Ras Lanuf. CNN's Ben Wedeman tweets: "At least one oil storage tank in the western town of al-Sidr is on fire now, causing a massive black plume over the surrounding area #Libya"

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1444Baset Ezzawi in Bedford, UK, writes: "I was born and brought up in Zawiya, and I am extremely proud of what my people are doing there. I only wish I could join them to fight this monster. His end is near, today he bombs the oil installations of Ras Lanuf, and that only means one thing: he wants to destroy Libya before he sinks into the dustbin of history. Dead or alive, he will be only remembered as the worst and longest nightmare in Libyan history. New Libya will be confident, prosperous and kind to its people and to others. Libyans have throughout history endured pain, and I hope this pain is of the birth of a free Libya."

1442Libyan state TV reports: "Armed gangs bomb Ras Lanuf's petroleum storage tanks as
they withdraw under the pressure of the armed forces."

1440The Libyan TV reports of pro-Gaddafi rallies in "liberated" Zawiya contrast starkly with eyewitness accounts of a city still under seige in which at least the central square was still held by rebels.

1434UK Foreign Secretary William Hague was not at Prime Minister's Questions today because he was meeting privately with the Queen at her request, to brief her on Libya. On Tuesday the opposition challenged Mr Hague in parliament over his handling of recent events in Libya.

1432Morocco's King Mohammed VI is expected to address the nation later, which would be his first statement since protests there calling for political reform.

1427The head of the Libyan logistics and supply authority, who landed earlier in Cairo (see 1212 and previous entries), was carrying a message from Col Gaddafi and asking to meet Egypt's military rulers, the Associated Press reports.

1423The BBC's Pascale Harter in Benghazi says the mood has changed in the rebel-held parts of the country from optimism to grim determination. She says people are holding rallies to try to revive the momentum of the rebellion.

1419Lebanese Health Minister Mohamed Jawad Khalifa has said the Arab League will send humanitarian assistance to Libya. Arab League health ministers are discussing the humanitarian situation in Libya, which has been suspended from the League.

1414Iran's biggest crude oil tanker operator NITC is to review sending more tankers to Libya if it receives a new order, an official has told Reuters. An NITC tanker left the eastern Libyan port of Tobruk on Tuesday with around one million barrels of crude oil, said the official. "We have no programme to send more," the official told Reuters from Tehran. "There has not been any demand for Libya. If there was any demand we will have to think about it."

1411 Free Libya Now tweets: "Smoke is rising from #Sidre port which is a host to large oil tanks"

1408For a rare inside view of what's happening in Misrata, the BBC news website has an eyewitness piece from Mohammed, who says he is a member of the civilian body running the town. "We are licking our wounds and preparing our defences," he says.

1404Commenting on the Libyan rebels' statement that they can survive in Benghazi for six months (see 1348) Professor Tim Niblock from Exeter University says: "Six months seems to me quite a long time if the conflict becomes really intense". He told the BBC World Service that the rebels are "severely short of medicines, and if they don't get more medicines coming in they certainly can't survive for as long as that."

1359Libyan state TV reports that Zawiya residents are holding massive rallies of support for Col Gaddafi.

1353 Opposition group Libyan Young Movement tweets: "Revolutionaries in high spirits head towards Bin Jawad, the fight is now just west of Ras Lanuf #Libya #Feb17 #gaddaficrimes"

1352A witness in Zawiya has told the BBC that the city is besieged by pro-Gaddafi tanks. They did not enter the city but they are bombarding it for the third day in a row. Mortar missiles hammering down, some buildings have collapsed and people are fleeing.

1348Mr Gheriani of the TNC also said Libya was rich in resources including oil, and "we will remember who our friends are and we will definitely reward them greatly". He added: "We are secure in the east of the country for at least six months."

1346The first meeting of the Transitional National Council, the administration set up to represent opponents of Col Gaddafi is being held in Benghazi. Spokesman Mustafa Gheriani told the BBC World Service they were trying to build a government from scratch. "We would like the international communtiy to recognise the council and not to deal with Mr Gaddafi anymore." He called for a no-fly zone in Libya and tactical strikes on some of Gaddafi strongholds: "We need everyhing short of having foot soldiers on our land," he said.

1342The BBC's Jon Leyne says loyalty in the army could be a problem for Gaddafi. There were reports earlier suggesting a Libyan general arrived in Cairo on a private plane - this could mean a defection, our correspondent says.

1335Some Egyptian political parties have called for a mass march on Friday to protest at sectarian violence, Mena state news agency reported, after at least 10 people were killed and dozens injured in clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians. The Muslim Brotherhood has condemned the violence, which it blamed on pro-Mubarak elements, the news agency said.

1329Nato Sec Gen Anders Fogh Rasmussen says on Sky news that Nato is not looking to intervene in Libya but the military is planning for "all eventualities", Reuters reports.

1327Reuters is reporting on the same attack, saying that it happened near the Es Sider oil terminal after Gaddafi's forces launched a heavy bombardment on rebel troops. A Reuters correspondent, Mohammed Abbas, said one of the smoke columns "was the biggest plume of smoke I've seen in the conflict so far, and is not dissipating."

1324Al Jazeera images are still showing two huge plumes of smoke in Ras Lanuf - which correspondents from the TV channel say could mean the oil terminal has been hit.

1320Wyre Davies says there are not the same level of protests in Tripoli, where forces have clearly demonstrated they are not afraid to kill people.

1319Meanwhile in Egypt, groups armed with knives and machetes have attacked hundreds of pro-democracy activists in Cairo's Tahrir Square, state TV said, according to AFP news agency.

1317Al Jazeera is showing images of Ras Lanuf, where thick grey smoke is billowing after attacks there. Reports suggest opposition fighters are still holding out despite more air strikes.

1313The BBC's Wyre Davies in Tripoli says the Gaddafi regime has been throwing everything at Zawiya. If it falls, he says, it's a significant gain for the Gaddafi forces. He says the regime is talking in a confident and upbeat mood. If help comes for those fighting Col Gaddafi, it could be too late in some respects, he adds.

1309Libyan TV has interviewed what it called injured soldiers in an unidentified hospital. Two "soldiers" expressed their "sadness at the state of destruction caused by the enemies of Libya". One told of the presence of "foreign elements" among the anti-Gaddafi forces. Among the "foreign elements", they cited "Algerian, Egyptian and Tunisian nationals". One of them also said that al-Qaeda was leading the armed groups.

1300Britain will also provide food and supplies to 100,000 of the most vulnerable people in Libya

1259The UK government has pledged to provide the International Confederation of the Red Cross with medics, medical training and supplies to enable hospitals to treat 3,000 affected by the fighting, as well as co-ordinating support to hospitals and facilitating delivery of medical supplies.

1252In a statement from London, the exiled Crown Prince said: "I am speaking for all Libyans when I ask for a no-fly zone and targeted air strikes on Gaddafi's air defences although it would be wrong for (there to be) troops on the ground and the people of Libya do not want it".

1251According to Reuters, Libyan exiled Crown Prince Mohammed al-Senussi has requested a no-fly zone over Libya and strikes against Col Gaddafi's air defences. But he said he did not support foreign troops on the ground.

1245The Malta Times reports that the Maltese and EU authorities are looking into claims made by Libyan protesters that the regime is rounding up African migrants on boats to unleash them onto Europe. The Maltese authorities were alerted to these reports and sources close to the Armed Forces of Malta said they were investigating the claims and "monitoring the situation along with EU partners". Read the article here.

1241 The Guardian's Martin Chulov tweets: "Between Benghazi and Tobruk, saw a convoy from 'Salafists of Egypt' on supply run to #libya. Radicals see opportunity in chaos #feb17"

1236Matog says people are going back and forth with ammunition, food and blankets. He adds: "What everyone is hoping for is a no-fly zone, which would make it easy for the army to move forward. If that happens, we are confident we'd be knocking on Gaddafi's door in two or three days. I never thought I'd see the things I am seeing. It's brutal - seeing the clashes, people dying in front of you, overwhelmed hospitals. What you see on the TV can't compare to the real picture. We are looking for freedom, that's what everyone wants. I won't leave until Gaddafi leaves. He has to kill every young man before he can continue ruling the country."

1234Matog told the BBC: "We are waiting for the army to push forward so that we can go after them. We started in Tobruk, then moved to Benghazi. Sirte is going to be the next big clash. We do this because that's how we provide moral support to the army. When they see this support - that makes boosts their morale. But we also take part in fights. We were the ones who got rid of the police in Tobruk. They were shooting at us with live bullets and we were throwing stones at them. Five people died in front of me on 18 February."

1232The BBC has spoken to Matog, a man in Ras Lanuf, who says he is part of a group of young men in their early twenties "determined to make our way to Tripoli following behind the army".

1229The statement by Italy was made after an emergency meeting of the country's Supreme Defence Council.

1223Italy says it will back any decisions on Libya made by the UN, the EU or Nato, Reuters reports.

1215The UN special rapporteur for torture, Juan Mendez, has told AP that Col Gaddafi's use of torture and illegal detention in the past is "very well-documented". He would not respond when asked whether he was investigating media reports that Col Gaddafi's soldiers were using ambulances to remove patients from hospitals and execute them.

1212The Libyan official said to have landed in Cairo has been named by Reuters as Maj-Gen Abdel Rahman Ben Ali al-Sayyid al-Zawy, head of the Libyan Authority for Supply and Logistics.

1201The UN special investigator on torture says he has opened an investigation into abuses by pro-Gaddafi forces, according to the Associated Press.

1156Reuters reports that the Libyan plane that flew over Greece to Egypt was carrying a Libyan official responsible for supplies, according to an Egyptian airport official.

1155The doctor in Misrata says medical staff there have been working 24 hours. They are running low on medical supplies like anaesthetics and milk for children.

1153The BBC has also spoken to a rebel and a doctor in Misrata. The rebel said Misrata was calm but tense, amid fears there will be another attack by pro-Gaddafi forces. He said people can't send or receive text messages - they think phones are being monitored and SIM cards are being cancelled, but he has secured internet access through satellite links.

1148The BBC has spoken to a man whose family is in Zawiya and was supporting the uprising, but he says they have now left the city and are hiding. Those family members who had been fighting in previous battles think "there is nothing they can do against 50 tanks and more than 100 armoured vehicles".

1144The BBC has interviewed Dr Mahmoud Jebril of the National Transitional Council, at the European parliament in Stasbourg. Mr Jebril appealed for recognition for the NTC, called for a no-fly zone if it's the only way to stop the killing, and criticised the way an ill-fated British special forces mission to Benghazi was planned last week.

1138Members of the European parliament are calling on the EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton to establish formal relations with Libya's rebel National Transitional Council. A non-binding resolution to that effect is expected to be passed in the parliament tomorrow with a large majority, and the parliament expects Baroness Ashton to present the proposal to a European summit in Brussels on Friday. But Ms Ashton says it's up to member states to decide whether to recognise the TNC.

1135AFP is reporting more heavy shelling from the front between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces just west of the oil port of Ras Lanuf. Aircraft heard flying overhead.

1126 And another tweet from bencnn "19-year old Libyan-American Muhannad bought his own machine gun for 1900 Libyan dinars (ca $1500), taught himself how to us it. #Libya"

1123 Ben Wedeman of CNN tweets: "At checkpoint to Ras Lanouf apposition fighters ask for the press pass. The Revolution is becoming bureaucratic. #Libya"

1119The Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal says it is up to the Arab League to decide on protecting Libyans, Reuters reports. He also says senior clerics in Saudi Arabia have banned demonstrations, and that it's wrong to link events across the Arab world - each country is different.

1118 SherineT tweets: "BREAKING: Reports that 3 #Gaddafi private jets just taken off from #tripoli. Headed in direction vienna,athens and cairo. #libya"

1112More on the Libyan plane crossing over Greece. A Greek air force source told AFP that it was a Libyan Airlines Falcon 900 that normally carries VIPs, though the pilot denied that dignitaries were on board. "The pilot tabled a flight plan from Tripoli to Cairo," the official said, adding: "The plane crossed southwest of the island of Crete around an hour ago. It should be landing in Cairo by now."

1103No detail on that Libyan plane that's said to have crossed Greek airspace, but Greece has had strong relations with the Gaddafi regime - hence the phone conversation we referred to earlier (1033) between Col Gaddafi and the Greek prime minister.

1058Greek media reports say one of Col Gaddafi's private planes has crossed Greek airspace en route to Egypt. Greek officials have given no information on who was inside.

1054Here's the BBC website's piece on EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's remarks, with more detail on European policy in Libya and the EU's wider southern neighbourhood.

1044As speculation continues about how unrest might spread further across the Arab world here's a round-up of views from the English language press.

1039From a BBC Arabic correspondent in Yemen: Yemeni opposition vehemently condemns the killing of peaceful demonstrators, holds Yemeni president responsible, calls for more peaceful demonstrations. Meanwhile, thousands are flocking to Tahrir Square in Sanaa, in solidarity with the victims.

1033The Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou spoke to Col Gaddafi by phone on Tuesday. He "listened" to the Libyan leader and stressed the need to prevent a humanitarian crisis, Mr Papandreou's office says.

1023The BBC's Jon Leyne in Benghazi says there are growing calls on the ground there for the imposition of a no-fly zone. But correspondents say that Libyans in rebel-held areas seem opposed to the idea of any foreign ground forces being deployed.

1019Among the migrants in Libya are those from the Democratic Republic of Congo, some of whom have been evacuated and arrived back in Kinshasa. The BBC's Kinshasa correspondent Thomas Hubert met some of them, who said they had a narrow escape after Libyan rebels started to identify sub-Saharan Africans with black mercenaries working for the Gaddafi government.

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1009Asaduzzaman Liton in Libya, writes: "I am a Bangladeshi migrant in Libya. Military intervention can be kept on the table but plane strikes should be stopped at any cost. All migrants have to evacuate from Libya as soon as possible. We are terrified. "

1007AFP is now reporting that 10 people were killed and 110 injured in clashes between Copts and Muslims in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

1004Libyan state TV refers to rebels as "rats". And a Libyan army captain says: "There are some rats that could be lying in some alleys and inside some flats. We are capturing them one group after the other."

1002Libyan state TV has sent a report from what it calls the "liberated" city of Zawiya. One pro-Gaddafi soldier said: "We could say that we are controlling the area 100%, but let us say 90% since the saboteurs are still scattered [within the city]."

0955The Financial Times has an article about the mystery surrounding the recent whereabouts of the man who holds the key to the Gaddafi regime's finances - central bank governor Farhat Omar Bengdara. The paper says he's surfaced and sent the FT an email.

0950Another nugget from EU foreign policy Catherine Ashton's comments: "I have asked my services to look, on a prudent planning basis, at possible EU engagement to support current evacuation and humanitarian efforts." The Washington Post (see 0945) says the US and the EU are considering the use of naval assets to deliver humanitarian aid to Libya.

0945The Washington Post says the US and Europe are weighing the legality of imposing a no-fly zone without UN authorisation. Here's the link.

0942Reuters are reporting that heavy fighting in Zawiya has forced the closure of a refinery there.

0933More from EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton (see 0917): She says that in addition to an embargo on equipment which might be used for internal repression and autonomous designations under the travel restrictions and assets freeze, the EU is "in the process of adding several entities controlled by Gaddafi and his closest associates to that list."

0927More from Col Gaddafi's interview with Turkish TV. He said that if a no-fly zone is established, Libyans will understand that the West is really after Libya's oil and that they will take up arms and fight.

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0921Baba in Medina, Saudi Arabia writes: "It is not good for the people to make protests in any country against the ruling government. I don't support such things. See how many people have been killed in these countries."

0917Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, addressing the European parliament: "We may have brought Gaddafi out of the cold but it's now time to send him back into the cold, fully and promptly."

0915Col Gaddafi's claims of al-Qaeda involvement in the unrest are seen by others as an outrageous effort to undermine rebels fighting for their freedom against a ruler who has brutally repressed all political opposition in Libya for more than four decades.

0911More quotes from Col Gaddafi from his interview with Turkey's TRT television: "If al-Qaeda manages to seize Libya, then the entire region, up to Israel, will be at the prey of chaos... The international community is now beginning to understand that we have to prevent Osama Bin Laden from taking control of Libya and Africa."

0908Some context to the report that six Egyptian Christians have been killed in Cairo (see 0823). Violence began on Tuesday during a protest by Copts against last week's burning of a church. Copts - who make up about 10% of Egypt's population - have often complained of harassment and discrimination, and attacks against them date back to well before the departure of ex-president Hosni Mubarak last month.

0858Here is a chunk of that LCI interview with Col Gaddafi, in which he threatens to align himself with Osama Bin Laden: "I cannot fight against my people, that's a lie by colonising countries: France, Britain, the Americans. They have suffered (Osama) Bin Laden's interventions, and now, instead of saying that this is an attack against Bin Laden and instead of supporting Libya, no, they want to re-colonise Libya. But this is a colonialist plot, it's colonialist. If al-Qaeda no longer is a common enemy, then from tomorrow we are going to meet Bin Laden and reach agreement with him. He will become our friend if it is considered that this is not terrorism."

0854Col Gaddafi gave two interviews to foreign journalists late on Tuesday - one to Turkish TV and one to France's La Chaine Info (LCI). In his comments to LCI he dismissed the rebellion against him as a "colonialist plot" by Western countries who were refusing to help him fight al-Qaeda - which he has repeatedly claimed is behind the rebels.

0849Quote from a rebel in Zawiyah speaking to Reuters: "There are many dead people and they can't even bury them. Zawiyah is deserted. There's nobody on the streets. No animals, not even birds in the sky."

0845For background, protests in Tunisia have been continuing since ex-President Ben Ali fled on 14 January as demonstrators push for the exclusion of officials seen as complicit with the old regime. There have been a number of cabinet reshuffles and this week it was announced that the secret police would be disbanded.

0838The former ruling party in Tunisia, the RCD, has been formally dissolved, AFP says. There was an explosion of joy in the courtroom in Tunis where the announcement was made, the report said.

0835Reuters is reporting that pro-Gaddafi tanks are closing in on the rebel-held main square in Zawiya, quoting a rebel.

0823AFP is citing a priest as saying that six Coptic Christians were killed in Cairo on Tuesday night.

0815The BBC's John Leyne in Benghazi points out that Col Gaddafi seems to be using a sizeable chunk of his army just to try to take Zawiya. He'll have to do so again across the country if he is to crush this rebellion.

0805As Col Gaddafi's forces fight with rebels for control of towns along Libya's Mediterranean coast, you can refer to our map of the area to see who's in control of what.

0756The unrest in Libya has caused a 63% drop in output there for Italian oil company Eni, according to a report in the Financial Times. Eni is the largest foreign operator in Libya.

0745In case you missed them here are some of the most striking images from that fighting in Ras Lanouf - plus a couple of shots of some of the people who've fled to the Tunisian border.

0740 CNN's Ben Wedeman tweets: "Tuesday Libyan Air Force jets destroyed a water main in Ras Lanouf. Will complicate opposition effort to hold the town."

0737From Yemen, AFP is reporting that a young protester has died of gunshot wounds inflicted when police opened fire overnight on demonstrators in Sanaa. Dozens of protesters and police were injured when Yemeni authorities moved to prevent protesters from occupying Sanaa's University Square on Tuesday. The protesters are demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

0731A reminder that the violence in Libya comes amid continuing unrest elsewhere in the Arab world - unrest that began to build when a young Tunisian set himself on fire on 17 December and has already led to the fall of two long-serving autocratic leaders - Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt

0727The US paper also has a piece on the fallout from the unrest in Libya from - of all places - Hollywood. "Things have gotten chilly here [in Los Angeles] for Natural Selection, the film production company backed by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's son Saadi," writes Michael Cieply.

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0724In an editorial the New York Times has accused the Obama administration of sending out conflicting messages on Libya, blunting the effect of any pressure on Col Gaddafi.

0716More from Pascale Harter in Benghazi: She says people there are very worried that Col Gaddafi's propaganda machine is working well, and that ordinary Libyans will begin to believe that the Libyan leader is in control and decide to throw their lot in with him again.

0714The BBC's Pascale Harter is in the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi. She says that people their with relatives in Zawiya have heard that those wounded in fighting there aren't getting to hospitals on outskirts, because they are cut off by troops loyal to Col Gaddafi surrounding the town.

0710More from the BBC's Wyre Davies in Tripoli: He says it appears that militarily, things are beginning to move in favour of Col Gaddafi's regime, although pro-Gaddafi forces would still face a huge task in trying to retake rebel-held towns in the east.

0708There are reports of heavy civilian casualties in Zawiya after forces loyal to Col Gaddafi carried out an intensive bombardment of the rebel-held town on Tuesday. But it is hard to get an accurate picture of events there - BBC teams have been stopped every time they try to make their way to Zawiya.

0705Wyre Davies in Tripoli says the Libyan leader is showing no sign of willingness to compromise or talk to rebels - he seems as defiant as ever, despite consistent reports that his allies had approached rebels to try to secure safe passage out of Libya for Col Gaddafi and his family. The government denied that any approach had been made.

0702The BBC's Wyre Davies in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, says Col Gaddafi's speech broadcast on state TV overnight was typically rambling, accusing foreign elements of fomenting violence.

0700Welcome 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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