Airstrikes will begin in Libya "perhaps within hours," a French government spokesperson told RTL radio, and in response, Qaddafi's government forces have just announced a cease-fire. Saif el-Islam Qaddafi was quoted in Libyan media as saying government forces would encircle the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Yesterday, his father had a message for the rebels there: "we are coming for you."

However, late Thursday, the UN passed a resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” to impose a no-flight zone. A spokeswoman for the rebel council in Benghazi told reporters there, "We are embracing each other...the international society did not let us down.” Britain and France immediately began preparing to deploy warplanes.

The remarkable ceasefire pledge came this morning from Qaddafi's foreign minister.