Western warplanes hit Libyan tanks on a fifth night of airstrikes on Thursday but failed to stop Muammar Gaddafi's forces shelling rebel-held towns in the west or dislodge his armour in the east.
Forces loyal to Libyan strongman Gaddafi used tanks and snipers to target the rebel-held city of Misrata on Thursday in clashes that killed at least two people, a rebel spokesman said.
Meanwhile, air strikes destroyed government tanks on the outskirts of Misrata, but other tanks inside the city were not hit, a resident said. Gaddafi's tanks had rolled back into Misrata under the cover of darkness and shelled the area near the town's main hospital, resuming their attack, residents and rebels said. "The situation is very serious," a doctor in the western town said.
A resident in rebel-held Zintan, southwest of Tripoli said Gaddafi forces were reinforcing there and rebels forces in the east were still pinned down outside the eastern town of Ajdabiyah after more than three days of trying to recapture it.
The continued fighting has strained an international coalition set up to try to stop Gaddafi's assault on Libyans seeking an end to his rule, with a growing list of countries wary of attacks on ground troops that could kill civilians.
The United States says it has successfully established a no-fly zone over the Libyan coast, begun attacking tanks and now wants to hand over to NATO.