Libyans flee as Gaddafi bombs rebels
US President Barack Obama said all options were on the table for driving Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi out of power as rebels angrily ruled out talking to a dictator with ‘‘ blood’’ on his hands.
Despite grave reservations expressed by the US military command, Mr Obama said a no-fly zone was among the ‘‘ full range’’ of options as he demanded Mr Gaddafi ‘‘ step down from power and leave’’.
Forces still loyal to the veteran strongman, who has r uled t he oi l - r i ch North African state for 41 years, have been bombing rebelheld positions in Libya’s east and thousands of people are desperate to flee the country.
The latest air raids around the vital oil installation of Brega were designed to scare the rebels off rather than inflict serious damage, Mr Gaddafi’s son Seif Al-Islam said.
‘‘ This is the oil and gas hub of Libya,’’ he said, vowing the regime would do all in its power to recapture the port.
‘‘ All of us, we eat, we live because of Brega. Without Brega six million people have no future because we export all of our oil from there.’’
Rebels managed to beat off a dawn attack on Brega on Wednesday in the first real military battle since the Libyan uprising began on February 15.
The patchwork Libyan opposition now controls swaths of eastern and western Libya i n c l u d i n g t h e c i t y o f B e n g h a z i a n d s o me o i l installations.
Mr Gaddafi remains firmly in control of the capital Tripoli. More than 100,000 people have left Libya to escape the violence, which has killed at least 1000, according to conservative UN estimates.