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International Calls On The Rise For No-Fly Zone Over Libya

Smoke rises following an air strike in the oil town of Ras Lanouf on March 7.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) today joined international calls for a no-fly zone in Libya in response to air strikes carried out by Muammar Qaddafi loyalists against rebel-held cities.

OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, speaking at the start of an emergency meeting of the 57-member organization in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, said, "We call on the Security Council to do its duty in this regard."

France and Britain are also seeking UN authorization for a no-fly zone over Libya, a move also backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has stressed the need for UN authorization for a no-fly zone.

Russia, however, said it opposed foreign military intervention.

Qaddafi's government forces, meanwhile, launched a new air strike today against the key oil port of Ras Lanouf, after pushing back a rebel offensive along the north coast.

Pro-Qaddafi forces also retook the nearby city of Bin Jawad on March 7.

The United Nations, meanwhile, said more than 1 million people fleeing or inside the country need humanitarian help.

compiled from agency reports