U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi may be targeting civilians with cluster bombs.
Clinton said the bombs, which have been banned by more than 100 countries, were being used in fighting in the besieged western rebel outpost of Misurata.
"Colonel Qaddafi's troops continue their vicious attacks, including the siege of Misurata," said Clinton on April 21.
"There are even reports that Qaddafi forces may have used cluster bombs against their own people."
It was the first time a U.S. official has made such an allegation.
Libya has denied using cluster bombs, which have been banned by more than 100 countries.
Clinton also demanded the immediate release of U.S. citizens "unjustly detained" in Libya, including at least two reporters.
Fierce fighting meanwhile continued in Misurata today. Libya's third largest city has been under siege by Qaddafi's forces for seven weeks. Hundreds have died.
Meanwhile, Libyan rebels said they had seized control of the Wazin crossing on the Tunisian border after three days of fighting.
In Tripoli, government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said the authorities were arming civilians to confront any possible land attack by NATO forces.
compiled from agency reports