The son of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi has denied the air force having attacked pro-democracy protesters, claiming the aim of reported air raids as targeting ammunitions depots.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said that no one had been injured in the air attacks, Libyan state radio reported late Wednesday.
Witnesses, however, said that fighter aircraft opened fire on pro-democracy protesters in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and the second largest city of Benghazi.
According to the Libyan newspaper Qurina, a pilot who had been ordered to bomb oil fields southwest of Benghazi refused to do so and instead ejected from the plane.
Citing military sources, the newspaper reported that the two people aboard — the pilot and the co-pilot — parachuted out and the plane then crashed into an uninhabited area west of Ajdabiya, 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Benghazi.
Protesters were reported to be in control of several areas, including the eastern cities of Benghazi and Tobruk.
More than 1,000 Libyans have so far been killed during the violent crackdown on protesters over the past nine days.
Despite the violent crackdown against the civilians, the pro-democracy protesters have geared up for a 10th day of rallies against the four decades of autocratic rule of Gaddafi.