Anti Aircraft and heavy artillery fire have been heard by reporters in Libya’s second city Benghazi, but no planes were seen or heard approaching the rebel bastion.
Rebel anti-aircraft batteries opened fire at around 11pm (8am today AEDT), and tracer rounds could be seen arcing across the sky over the city.
The sound of heavy artillery and of explosions could also be heard, apparently coming from the south-east, as well as the sirens of ambulances.
At the same time, fireworks were seen exploding overhead amid rumours, later denied, that Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s residence in Tripoli had been bombed.
Libyans often fire weapons into the air as an expression of joy.
Earlier in the evening, forces loyal to Gaddafi said they would soon move against Benghazi, state television quoted the army as saying.
Addressing residents of the country’s second city, the statement said: “The armed forces are arriving to ensure your security, undo the injustice done to you, protect you, restore calm and bring life back to normal.”
“This is a humanitarian operation being undertaken in your interests, and is not aimed at taking revenge against anyone,” it added.
Benghazi, some 1000km east of the capital Tripoli, has been the stronghold of the rebellion against Gaddafi that erupted a month ago. Agencies