Libyan rebels have given pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte until Saturday to surrender or face a military offensive.
It is diehard Gaddafi territory there, the last remaining major stronghold of support for the old regime. The ultimatum was also given to other loyalist towns.
On the road to the city rebels attacked suspected pro-Gaddafi fighters. Two men surrendered.
In the capital Tripoli rebel leaders announced that they had killed one of the colonel’s sons. Twenty-eight year old Khamis was the commander of a well-equipped brigade of troops. If confirmed, his death could prove to be a major blow for Gaddafi loyalists.
Rebel forces are preparing to move on Sirte from all sides. Some units have been waiting for reinforcements to arrive. Rebel leaders are trying to negotiate a bloodless takeover.
Relations with neighbouring Algeria have been strained by the arrival there of four close members of Gaddafi’s family.
The interim Libyan leader has said he believes Gaddafi’s wife, daughter and two of his sons will leave Algeria for another country.