Libya's Qaddafi offers $400 per family as rebels close in on Tripoli
Libya's besieged leader, facing a rebel advance on Tripoli and possible international sanctions, also pledged a 150 percent increase in some government workers' wages.
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“There are army and police checkpoints around Zawiyah but there is no presence inside. I just saw a few unarmed civilians,” Saeed Mustafa told Reuters.Skip to next paragraph
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Control of Benghazi and other parts of east Libya puts antigovernment supporters in control of critical oil reserves. Although mercenaries employed by Qaddafi have attacked two nearby cities in an attempt to quell the uprising, Sky News reports that rebels have managed to take control of a military airfield.
Humanitarian organizations say it is impossible to determine exactly how many people have died in the fighting. At least 300 deaths have been confirmed by Human Rights Watch, while the International Federation for Human Rights puts the death toll closer to 700 people. According to Gerrard Buffet, a French doctor in Benghazi who was interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation, the actual number may be much higher. In the east alone he estimates that as many as 2,000 people may have been killed.
In the face of increasing violence, the international community is preparing to take serious action. France and the UK are calling for the UN to approve an arms embargo and sanctions on Libya. President Barack Obama has consulted with European leaders and when asked if the US would consider military options, the president’s spokesman, Jay Carney, responded, “I'm not ruling anything out," The Wall Street Journal reports.
French officials have made similar calls to action. French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said, “We can't make do with speeches any more, we need to act.”