Rebels have taken on forces loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi near the town of Zawiyah. It is the second day of fighting and brings the revolt to within 20 kilometres of the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli.
But a government spokesman says the opposition forces eventually tried to enter the town, but were driven back.
The renewed fighting around Zawiyah is the closest the rebellion has come to Gaddafi’s stronghold in Tripoli for months.
There have been reports that unrest has spread to parts of the country as yet untouched by the rebellion. But it is difficult to get a clear idea of what is actually happening the ground.
What is definite is Gaddafi’s intention not to bow to domestic or international pressure to step down.
Although weakened after months of fighting and NATO attacks, his troops have not buckled.