RAS LANUF, Libya (Reuters) – Britain and France said they were seeking U.N. authority for a no-fly zone over Libya, as Muammar Gaddafi's warplanes counter-attacked against rebels and aid officials said a million people were in need.
Rebels swiftly rejected an olive branch offered by an associate of Gaddafi, and fighting escalated around a key oil port. The aging autocrat warned that if he fell thousands of refugees would "invade Europe."
With civilians surrounded by forces loyal to Gaddafi in two western towns, Misrata and Zawiyah, fears grew of a rising humanitarian crisis if the fighting continued.
U.N. aid coordinator Valerie Amos said more than a million people fleeing or inside the country needed humanitarian aid.
"Humanitarian organisations need urgent access now," she said. "People are injured and dying and need help immediately."
The U.N. appealed for financial support totaling $160 million to fund an operation over the next three months to get shelter, food and medicines ready.