On Wednesday, Seif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the oldest son of the Libyan dictator, declared that Benghazi will fall within 48 hours.
The battle for control of Benghazi looked just hours away on Thursday after the Libyan army ordered people to leave opposition-held locations and arms storage areas.
Rebels said they had inflicted heavy losses on government forces fighting to regain control of Misrata, a port which is the last big anti-Gaddafi stronghold in western Libya.
Opposition sources said they had destroyed 16 tanks and captured 20 members of an elite unit commanded by Khamis, another son of Gaddafi, after an armoured force attacked Misrata from the south and west. Artillery and rockets were also deployed.
Saif al-Islam poured scorn on talks at the UN and elsewhere to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. “The military operations are finished,” he told France’s Euronews channel. “In 48 hours everything will be over. Our forces are close to Benghazi. Whatever decision is taken, it will be too late.”
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