An official at one of Libya’s biggest oil refineries has said they have had to shut down the complex in Zawiyah because of fierce fighting.
He said heavy weapons being fired nearby had forced the closure of the petrol plant.
Anti-government fighters and residents in Zawiyah said columns of Gaddafi’s tanks were closing in on the main square, where rebels are clinging on despite days of heavy bombardment.
An eastern front has been established on the other side of the capital, with fierce exchanges between Bin Jawad and the oil town Ras Lanuf.
The advance on Gaddafi’s hometown, Sirte, came to an abrupt halt when government tanks and bombers retook Bin Jawad, forcing the rebels into retreat. They headed for Ras Lanuf, which was also bombarded by government forces.
The rebel leadership made another impassioned plea for the international community to impose a no-fly zone to keep Gaddafi’s bombers grounded.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated that any such move must have international support.