US considers air strikes as Gaddafi's troops advance
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Cairo/Washington, Mar 17: Making a dash across the desert, Muammar Gaddafi's tanks were reported today to be on the outskirts of the last remaining rebel-stronghold of Benghazi in a race against time as the US mulled the possibility of air strikes to stop the advance of his forces.
Intense battle raged around the key town of Misurata and Ajdabiya, as rebel forces were making last ditch efforts to stop two tanks-led columns closing on the two port cities of Benghazi and Tobruk, which would give the Libyan leader total sway over his country.
Al Jazeera quoted state-run Libyan television as saying that forces loyal to the strongman Gaddafi were on the outskirts of Benghazi.
"The town of Zuwaytinah is under control (of loyalists) and armed forces are on the outskirts of Benghazi," the Arab channel said.
Wary of the speed at which Gaddafi's forces were moving, the White House set a sort of a deadline of tonight for an international response in Libya as a top US official said Washington was contemplating steps that include but perhaps go beyond a 'no fly' zone.
As intense battles raged, the UN Security Council is to meet tonight to vote on a draft resolution that would not only introduce a no 'fly zone' over Libya, but may also authorise the use of air strikes to stop the advance of Gaddafi's forces.
Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN, said: "We are discussing very seriously and leading efforts in the Council around a range of actions that we believe could be effective in protecting civilians".
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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