Moammar Gaddafi's forces broke through rebel lines at an opposition-held city that is closest to Tripoli, in a dawn attack that could prove crucial to the regime's defence of the Libyan capital, witnesses said.
They said the forces loyal to the country's longtime leader were inside Zawiya, 50 kilometres west of Tripoli, after overcoming rebel positions with heavy mortar shelling and machinegun fire.
The hours-long attack started at dawn and the rattle of gunfire and explosions could be heard as the witnesses spoke to reporters. They said several fires were raging in Zawiya today and that heavy black smoke hung over many parts of the city of some 200,000 people.
Clarification: Slane bypass
In relation to a story in Thursday's edition on the proposed N2 Slane bypass, we have been asked to clarify that while the Mountcharles estate objects to the proposed western route, it has no objection to the alternative eastern route.
We are happy to clarify this matter.
Slumdog star's home razed
The shanty home of Slumdog Millionaire child star Rubina Ali has burned down in a fire that raged through a crowded slum in the Indian city of Mumbai.
Rubina said most of the awards that she received for her role as a poverty-stricken child in the Oscar-winning film have been destroyed in the blaze that erupted in the Garib Nagar slum.
The 12-year-old star said she and other members of her family were watching television when they heard shouts of a fire and ran out of their tin-roofed shanty.
Rubina said the family is waiting to move into a new apartment paid for by a trust set up by the film's director, Danny Boyle.