Tripoli/Washington: As the US-led western coalition mounted pressure on Gaddafi, rebels on the other side seized control of the eastern oil town of Ajdabiya on Saturday.

With the coalition stepping up air raids on Gaddafi's tanks and artillery outside the town, rebel fighters were now reportedly on their way to the oil port town of Brega, where Gaddafi forces have retreated.

Amid the ruins of tanks and artillery pieces left behind after air strikes, Ajdabiya was "firmly back under the control of opposition fighters", Al Jazeera channel said.

"There is no doubt about it, you can probably hear some of the celebrations behind me, Ajdabiya is in opposition hands," the report from Ajdabiya said.

"The opposition forces tell me there may be some pro-Gaddafi forces hiding, snipers possibly on buildings, they are telling us to take care," the report said.

In the fighting in Misrata, forces loyal to Gaddafi shelled an area on the outskirts of the city, killing six people including three children, a rebel said.

Gaddafi forces have not given up hopes and they are still trying to recapture Misrata, the last major western Libyan town.

The port city witnessed some of the heaviest fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi since the uprising began on February 16.

No plans to kill Gaddafi: Obama

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has said the military mission in Libya is clear, focused and limited.

"Because we acted quickly, a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided and the lives of countless civilians -innocent men, women and children - have been saved," Obama said

"We're succeeding in our mission. We've taken out Libya's air defences. Gaddafi's forces are no longer advancing across Libya. In places like Benghazi, a city of some 700,000 that Qaddafi threatened to show 'no mercy', his forces have been pushed back," he said.

Eight days into the military strikes in Libya, he underlined that there will not be any US ground forces in the operation.

Meanwhile, the US said it is working with the Libyan opposition leaders on post-Gaddafi scenario.

"We are working in a variety of ways to reach out to the opposition in Libya, to advise them on what a post-Gaddafi Libya would best look like," White House Press Secretary, Jay
Carney told reporters in Washington.

Gaddafi's troops continued to target and attack innocent civilians, Director of the Joint Staff Vice Admiral Bill Gortney said.

"We don't want to go out and count tanks, the number of tank turrets that we see knocked off of tanks," Gortney said in Washington.

"We flew more than 153 missions (last 24 hours), 96 of which were strike-related. Slightly more than half of those strike missions were executed by US pilots," he said adding that the number of sorties have gone up at a rapid rate.

The top commander said the Gaddafi forces' ability to command and control and effectively employ their air defence "is almost nonexistent".

The US said the regime was seeking possible mediators, interlocutors amid growing pressure on the embattled leader.

"It’s clear that the regime is reaching out to several possible mediators, interlocutors to try to get a message across," US Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz told reporters.

"I’m not exactly sure what the message is, but it clearly indicates, I think, at least some kind of desperation," Cretz said. "We haven’t really been involved in those kind of discussions up until now".

Cretz said extending US recognition to the rebel umbrella group – the Transitional National Council – is an option under consideration.

(Agencies)