Muammar Gaddafi has urged his supporters to liberate the country from NATO and traitors. The Libyan leader broadcast an audio message a day after rebels said they had captured a key town near Tripoli.
Footage of the rebels raising their flag in Zawiyah would appear to back-up their claim. Their arrival there deals a major blow to the regime as it represents the most dramatic rebel advance on Gaddafi’s Tripoli stronghold in months.
But it is unclear whether they have succeeded in severing the vital coastal highway to Tunisia which keeps the capital supplied with food and fuel.
The government has denied losing Zawiyah and insists the coast road remains open. It has also played down reports of rebel attacks in Garyan, south of the capital.
Despite Gaddafi’s defiance there are rumours that his representatives are holding talks with the rebels in Tunisia, but once again the government has denied it.