The road from Ras Lanuf in the east of Libya is the focus of intense fighting between rebel forces and Libyan government troops. Unconfirmed reports say war planes have bombed opposition hideouts there.
The skirmishes have been going back and forwards as eyewitness Mohammad Bou Ali explained on Friday afternoon.
“A mosque located in the industrial area was bombed, but rebels are now at the entrance of the city. They were able to capture at least 15 soldiers loyal to Gaddafi, among them were mercenaries,” he said.
In the east, Benghazi remains an opposition stronghold. West of Tripoli the revolt in Zawiyah, held for days by the rebels, has been crushed.
Foreign journalists escorted to the city centre by government forces on Friday witnessed a hotel that had been the command centre of the rebels in ruins.
In the US, President Barack Obama, accused by critics of not reacting quickly enough, said the United States and its allies are “slowly tightening the noose” with sanctions on Colonel Gaddafi and that a no-fly option remains on the table.