UN approves military intervention to protect Free Benghazi

The UN Security Council has approved air strikes against Gadaffi loyalist forces and the Gadaffi mercenary army as they advance on "Free Benghazi," the Libyan rebel stronghold. In response, Gadaffi told a Portuguese TV station, "This is craziness, madness, arrogance. If the world gets crazy with us we will get crazy too. We will respond. We will make their lives hell because they are making our lives hell. They will never have peace." The no-fly zone and intervention will be enforced with support from Arab League members who earlier passed a resolution calling on the UN to take action (the Arab League has always had a fraught relationship with Gadaffi, whose presence at League meetings has been marked by the aforementioned "crazy").
7.05pm ET: There's some very impressive singing in central Benghazi, accompanied by celebratory gunfire, right now, based on al-Jazeera's footage.

An al-Jazeera English reporter, Tony Birtley, later says: "I haven't been hugged by so many people since my daughter's birthday party."

7.11pm ET: US enforcement of a no-fly zone in Libya could begin by Sunday or Monday, according to anonymous US officials quoted by AP, and would involve "jet fighters, bombers and surveillance aircraft".

7.16pm ET: Italy announces it is opening its air force and naval bases in Sicily for operations against Libya - the obvious spot to base US and British jets.

The Berlusconi government may have had relatively warm relations with Libya, but Italy's Nato obligations gave it little choice but to allow other members to use its bases.

Libya resolution: UN security council air strikes vote - as it happened