The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross says Libya has descended into civil war, with doctors in the east seeing a dramatic rise in the number of wounded civilians.
ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger said Thursday the aid organization was cut off from western areas, including the capital, Tripoli, but suggested the west also was severely affected by the clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Fighting intensified at the eastern oil port of Ras Lanuf, the front line of opposition forces. Pro-Gadhafi forces launched fresh air strikes on the town Thursday, a day after rebels said loyalists had attacked a major oil pipeline there.
State television had blamed “al-Qaida-backed” armed elements.
Near Tripoli, in volatile Zawiya, residents said the city was quiet after a night of hard-fought battles. Conflicting sources leave it unclear as to whether opposition or pro-Gadhafi forces control the city.
Rebels had been holding out for days against pro-Gadhafi forces besieging the town. There was no way to independently verify the conflicting claims because the government has barred journalists from entering Zawiya.