Misrata, Zintan, Ajdabiya, Bengazhi - Widespread Fighting In Libya On Ground And In Air
Forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi bombed and shot at rebels across northern Libya on Tuesday, killing at least a dozen civilians.
While the U.S. said it would widen a United Nations-imposed no-fly zone, the overall situation in Libya continued to show signs of a prolonged stalemate between pro-Gaddafi fighters and the Western, Arab and rebel forces trying to weaken them.
In America, a Rasmussen poll released Tuesday found support for intervention in Libya had increased from two weeks ago. China slightly backed down from its critcism of the intervention, but Pakistan joined India and Russia, in expressing concerns about the involvement.
The U.S. said the no-fly zone would be extended over Tripoli, Port Brega and Misurata. After that time, the U.S. would seek to defer control over the operation to other countries. Italy said NATO should oversee the operation, but France, Germany and Turkey aren't high on the idea. Foreign affairs leaders from the involved countries will meet in Europe later this week to dicussion the situation further, France said.
NATO forces in the sea and air immediately will begin enforcing an arms embargo and could join the airstrikes in the coming days. Airstrikes Monday night were aimed at naval facilities, an airport and a radar site.
On Tuesday, U.S. warplanes impeded Gaddafi planes from bombing the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. But Gaddafi forces did make it through to Zintan and Misurata.
Reuters reported the bombardment of Zintan killed 10 people. Gaddafi tanks stood on the outskirts of the city after rebel fighters forced them to retreat.
In Misrata, a U.S. military official acknowledged Tuesday that civilians were under heavy fire from Gaddafi forces, including snipers and tanks. Two boys and two girls fleeing from their house were killed during the attack, according to a man speaking to BBC.
Residents told BBC that electricity had been cut off in both cities. Water and food supplies were running thin.
Nine residents were also killed in fighting in Yafran, AFP reported.
Outside of Ajdabiya, the Associated Press reported:
The ragtag band of hundreds of fighters who made their way to the outskirts of Ajdabiya on Tuesday milled about, clutching mortars, grenades and assault rifles. Some wore khaki fatigues.
One man sported a bright white studded belt. Some men clambered up power lines in the rolling sand dunes of the desert, squinting and hoping to see Gadhafi's forces inside the besieged city of 140,000 that is the gateway to the east.
"Gaddafi is killing civilians inside Ajdabiya," said Khaled Hamid, a rebel who said he been in Gadhafi's forces but defected to the rebels' side. "Today we will enter Ajdabiya, God willing."