Muammar Gaddafi has been dealt a blow after rebels regained control of the city of Ajdabiya after international air strikes on the Libyan leader's forces.
The fall of the eastern gateway urban centre followed a week of coalition action against Gaddafi's military, which included British and French war planes striking near the city on Friday.
RAF Tornado GR4 fighters also destroyed a series of Libyan battle tanks that were threatening the disputed city on Thursday.
The rebel victory marked the first major turnaround for the uprising.
On the road into Ajdabiya, at least eight blackened regime tanks lay on the ground, while drivers honked horns in celebration and flew the tricolour rebel flag.
Others in the city fired their guns into the air and danced on the burned out tanks.
Saif Sadawi, a 20-year-old rebel fighter, said the city's eastern gate fell late last night and the western gate fell at dawn after air strikes on both locations.
"All of Ajdabiya is free," he said.
The US commander in charge of the overall international mission, Army General Carter Ham, said the international partners could easily destroy all the regime forces in Ajdabiya, but the city itself would be destroyed in the process.
"We'd be killing the very people that we're charged with protecting," he said.