Libya: 250 dead by air strike

Security forces and protesters have clashed in Libya’s capital for the second night, after the government announced a new crackdown.

Witnesses say warplanes have fired on protesters in Tripoli.

To the west of the city, sources say the army is fighting forces loyal to ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi, who appears to be struggling to hold on to power.

Libya’s deputy envoy to the UN has called on Col Gaddafi to step down, and accused his government of genocide.

Ibrahim Dabbashi said that if Col Gaddafi did not relinquish power, “the Libyan people will get rid of him”.

Smoke and flames

The BBC’s Jon Leyne, in neighbouring Egypt, says Col Gaddafi has now lost the support of almost every section of society.

Reliable sources say Col Gaddafi has now left the capital, our correspondent adds.

Clashes in Tripoli on Sunday night were suppressed by the security forces. On Monday, state TV reported a renewed operation had begun against opposition elements.

“Security forces have started to storm into the dens of terror and sabotage, spurred by the hatred of Libya,” the Libyan TV channel reported.

An eyewitness in Tripoli told the BBC he could see people being shot down by aircraft.

Another eyewitness in the capital said the suburbs of Fashloom and Zawiyat al-Dahmani had been cordoned off by security forces.

Protesters were out on the streets, and flames and smoke could be seen rising from the area, the witness said.

In an earlier TV address, Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam conceded that the eastern cities of al-Bayda and Benghazi were under opposition control.

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