Libyan rebels ended their waiting game and attacked Gadhafi forces in Bani Walid and outside Sirte today on the eve of the loosely held deadline for those cities to surrender peacefully.
NATO warplanes were seen overhead as the attacks were launched in Bani Walid, according to media reports.
Frustration set in after several broken-promises in talks between city elders and the rebels, prompting the anti-Gadhafi forces to finally commence with what they hope will be the last phases of fighting in Libya.
"The straw that broke the camel's back was the rocket fire from the Gadhafi forces the last 24 hours," said a foreign diplomatic official who closely monitors the Libyan revolution.
The rebels are attacking from at least two directions in Bani Walid, where Moammar Gadhafi has been said to be in hiding, the Associated Press reported. Gadhafi earned a spot on Interpol's most-wanted list overnight.
"They are inside the city. They are fighting with snipers," Abdullah Kenshil, the rebels' chief negotiator said of the anti-Gadhafi forces. "They forced this on us and it was in self-defense."
The fighting for Sirte remains well outside the city, according to the BBC. Sirte is Gadhafi's hometown and is a stronghold for his tribe.
There were no reports of fighting in the two other Gadhafi strongholds of Sabha and Jufra.
The Transitional National Council, meanwhile, continued to move its senior officials from Benghazi to Tripoli as the new government takes root in the Libyan capital.
President Obama welcomed today Ali Suleiman Aujali, the first representative to the U.S. from the new Libyan government.
"As the Transitional National Council undertakes an inclusive and democratic political transition where human rights are respected and valued, it will find a strong ally in the United States. We look forward to working with Ambassador Aujali and his team in the coming months," said Whiote House national security pokesman Tommy Vietor.