Thousands of Gaddafi supporters have taken to the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli to celebrate.
They had been told that their leader’s forces had scored ‘significant victories’ around the country, even though these are denied by witnesses elsewhere.
There have been claims that the jubilant scenes were orchestrated to cover up for exchanges of gunfire heard at dawn.
A propaganda war is underway alongside the fighting.
The crowed waved green flags and pictures of the Libyan leader. Hussain Karim, a teacher at Tripoli University and Gaddafi supporter, was among them.
“This is the time of victory in Libya, and as you can see today, last night and this morning, it’s the time of victory of the people of Libya. These people you see is the true people of Libya. There is nobody in this state or this city against Gaddafi,” he proclaimed.
But just a few kilometres from the city centre there has been opposition – while further afield more fierce fighting has raged amid claim and counter-claim.
State TV said the military had regained control of several towns and were even taking over Benghazi. Insurgents, eyewitnesses and reporters on the ground say rebels remain in control, although it is clear Gaddafi’s forces have launched assaults in some areas, such as Zawiyah and Misrata in the west.
A doctor at Misrata’s main hospital told Reuters at least 18 people, including a baby, had been killed in the fighting.
The Libyan leader has told a French newspaper, the Journal du Dimanche, that he would welcome a UN or African Union investigation into the violence.
Meanwhile a British diplomatic team – according to some reports including special forces – has been freed and has left the country after being held by rebels in Benghazi.