Libyan rebels have launched a major double-pronged offensive against forces loyal to the regime of Colonel Gaddafi in the biggest push for several weeks.
Hundreds of fighters have moved on two fronts to the south and east of Tripoli.
The assaults came as Gaddafi’s government denied reports that he was looking for a deal under which he would step down.
Rebels are reported to have taken the strategic village of al-Qawalish, south of the capital Tripoli.
There was also a big push against government forces launched from Misrata.
It has been five months since the anti-Gaddafi uprising began.
Al-Qawalish is said to have fallen after a six hour battle with government troops. They left behind collapsed tents and half-eaten food suggesting a hurried escape.
The rebels’ next target is just to the east where there is a larger town that controls the main road north to the capital Tripoli.