Witness: Gadhafi Forces Pound Rebel-Held City

The rebel-held city of Misrata came under sustained attack by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday, a witness in the western city said.

The tank and artillery fire went on for at least two hours, he said.

"We hear very, very, very loud explosions," said the witness who did not want to be named. "They have cut off electricity and water."

The assault came as Gadhafi fights to recapture a number of rebel towns and cities in the east of the country, and on the day the United Nations Security Council is due to consider imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

"Several" Arab countries have told France they would "participate" in a targeted attack on Gadhafi's air assets, France's foreign minister said on his blog Wednesday.

The minister, Alain Juppe, did not specify which countries or how they would participate. The Arab League has backed a no-fly zone to help protect Libya's people from Gadhafi's attack on rebels.

The key Libyan city of Ajdabiya, the last major point between pro-government forces and the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, was slipping from the opposition's hands Tuesday, witnesses reported.

Gadhafi's forces fired artillery into Ajdabiya, and there were eyewitness reports of at least two airstrikes on the city. If Ajdabiya is retaken by pro-Gadhafi forces, it would give access to roads leading to the heart of the opposition's base.