CAIRO -- There are signs of cracks in Moammar Gadhafi's regime after more than 40 years as Libya's ruler.
Libya's own ambassadors at the United Nations are calling for him to step down. A pro-government website says the justice minister has resigned to protest the excessive use of force against protesters. And two warplanes from the Libyan air force have fled to Malta, where the colonels flying them asked for political asylum, according to Maltese military officials.
In the Libyan capital, security forces appear to be preparing a new assault on protesters, who have called for a second night of demonstrations in a central Tripoli square. Warplanes have been swooping low over the capital and snipers have taken position on the roofs of buildings. Communications into the capital appeared to have been cut.
State TV has announced that the military had "stormed the hideouts of saboteurs" and is urging the public to back the security forces.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch says at least 233 people have been killed since protests began in Libya's eastern cities nearly a week ago.