Fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi appears to be closing in on some of the country’s oil facilities.
Around Ras Lanuf government planes and artillery pounded rebels groups who replied with volleys of rockets.
In the exchanges an oil storage tank exploded. Each side blamed the other for the damage.
Up the road from Ras Lanuf, rebels announced that they had re-entered the town of Bin Jawad, but were facing severe artillery and air bombardments.
One rebel claimed five government tanks were destroyed with missiles and rocket propelled grenades.
On the other side of the capital, residents in Zawiyah said Gaddafi’s tanks and snipers had forced the rebels out and were in the town square.
The battle was reported to be fierce. Foreign reporters are being kept out but witnesses said rooftop snipers were shooting at anything that moved.
A major oil refinery near Zawiyah had to shut as heavy weapons moved closer.
A doctor in the town said the streets were littered with bodies, among them elderly people, women and children.