Cairo, Feb 27: Libya's former justice minister announced he was forming a "transitional government" to replace Gaddafi's crumbling regime, which now controls only some western areas around the capital and a few long-time bastions in the arid south, reporters and witnesses say, reports Al Jazeera.
In al-Baida, Mustafa Abdel Jalil said the new administration would include commanders of the regular army, many of who defected to the opposition, and would pave the way for free and fair elections in three months' time.
"Our national government has military and civilian personalities. It will lead for no more than three months, and then there will be fair elections and the people will choose their leader," Abdel Jalil said.
Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley, reporting from Benghazi, said people in the city "realise that at the end of the day, they are going to be responsible for the liberation of their entire country and they are taking steps to do that".
"There was a big meeting of the former justice minister who is leading this process and the tribal elders," our correspondent said.
"If anything signals the downfall of Gaddafi it's the fact that these tribes are coming together and they're showing unity and solidarity."
From Misurata, a major city 200km east of Tripoli, residents and exile groups said by telephone that a thrust by forces loyal to Gaddafi, operating from the local airport, had been rebuffed by the opposition.
"There were violent clashes last night and in the early hours of the morning near the airport," Mohammed, a resident of the town, said. "An extreme state of alert prevails in the city."
He said several mercenaries from Chad had been detained by the anti-Gaddafi opposition in Misurata. The report could not be verified but was similar to accounts elsewhere of Gaddafi deploying fighters brought in from African states where he has longstanding allies.