International pressure on Moammar Gadhafi to end his crackdown on opponents escalated Monday as his loyalists fought rebels holding a city near the capital and his warplanes bombed an ammunition depot in the east.
The U.S. moved naval and air forces closer to Libya and said all options were open, including the use of warplanes to patrol the North African nation’s skies.
France said it would fly aid to the opposition-controlled eastern half of the country. The European Union imposed an arms embargo and other sanctions, following the lead of the U.S. and the U.N. The EU was also considering the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya. And the U.S. and Europe were freezing billions in Libya’s foreign assets.
“Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to govern, and it is time for him to go without further violence or delay,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. “No option is off the table. That of course includes a no-fly zone.”
Gadhafi, who in the past two weeks has launched the most brutal crackdown of any Arab regime facing a wave of popular uprisings, laughed off a question from ABC News about whether he would step down as the Obama administration demands.