Libya's rebel chief called on British PM David Cameron to ship weapons to Benghazi today after the allegedly cash-strapped Con-Dem government announced that it will supply police officers in the rebel-held east of Libya with uniforms and body armour.
Mr Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and other ministers promised the equipment as well as help for the insurgents to set up a radio station after meeting rebel chief Mustafa Abdul-Jalil in London.
The PM said he had invited Mr Abdul-Jalil to open a permanent office in London to help improve ties, while Mr Hague said he was also considering requests to supply more non-lethal equipment.
Mr Jalil thanked the coalition government for its "discipline and moral stand" in supporting the rebellion.
But he insisted that Western states must do more, saying: "We need some lethal weapons."'
British "military mentors" have already travelled to Benghazi to help organise the insurrection, amid reports that it is too fractured to overthrow the Libyan government.
The "transitional national council" says that Abdel Fattah Younes, a former Libyan interior minister who defected early in the rebellion, is leading the military campaign.
But Mr Younes apparently lacks the trust of some in the rebel leadership and one rebel spokesman, Colonel Ahmed Bani, has said that Khalifa Heftar was the true army leader.
Mr Heftar is a former military commander who supported the 1969 coup that brought Muammar Gadaffi to power and became a member of the policy-making Revolutionary Command Council before breaking with him in 1987.
Mr Heftar, who has lived in the US for the past 20 years, said that Mr Younes is an officer serving the rebel army in a support and logistical role.
Shashank Joshi, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said: "I have yet to see evidence that the division in military command has been resolved.
"Politically, it is dangerous to have divided military command since it lays the ground for warlordism."
Nato air strikes hit Colonel Gadaffi's compound today, hours after he was shown on television for the first time since another raid killed his son and other relatives.
Libyan officials said six people had been killed in the attacks and 25 wounded.
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