Loud explosions have rocked the Libyan capital, Tripoli, for a third night as forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attempt to stop any new attack from an international military coalition enforcing a no-fly zone over the country, Al Jazeera reports.
Gunfire and anti-aircraft fire lit up the sky late on Monday in and around the capital, where two large explosions could be heard about 10 minutes apart shortly after 9pm, said Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Tripoli.
She said two naval bases just outside the city had reportedly been hit in the strikes.
We could see an area of the port on fire, substantially on fire, two big blazes. We saw fire engines racing along the coastal road, she said.
This evening seems to have been about targeting seaborne military assets of Gaddafi's army, but also we are given to understand [there was] an attack on the airport at Sirte.
Mussa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, told a news conference that the coalition bombardment had killed civilians in port areas and at Sirte airport and had hit the southern town of Sebha, a bastion of Gaddafi's tribe.
Meanwhile, international coalition forces reportedly struck radar installations at two air defence bases belonging to Gaddafi's forces in Benghazi in eastern Libya.
The developments came as the UN Security Council rejected a Libyan request for an emergency meeting to halt what it called military aggression by coalition forces three days after they began launching strikes aimed at disabling Libyan air defences.
The council decided instead to hold a briefing already planned for Thursday to inform on the coalition air campaign to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Libyan government spokesman Ibrahim said Misurata, Libya's third-largest city 211km east of Tripoli, was liberated three days ago and that Gaddafi's forces were hunting terrorist elements.
But a spokesman for opposition fighters in the city told the AFP news agency that the opposition remained in control despite an onslaught by Gaddafi loyalists, who he said opened fire with tanks and set snipers on roofs to gun down people in the streets.
He said the road between the eastern city of Benghazi and Ajdabiya was littered with the burned-out wreckage of what was Gaddafi's armour and tanks, destroyed in air raids by coalition forces.
Government troops retreated 100km from Benghazi, the opposition stronghold, after fierce strafing by coalition aircraft destroyed much of their armour, AFP reported.