Shells have been fired at a district of Abidjan opposed to disputed Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, with reports of at least 25 dead.
Two shells landed in a market in the Abobo area, residents said. The UN said they were fired by Mr Gbagbo’s troops
Some 370,000 people have fled recent clashes in Abidjan – many from Abobo, which backs Alassane Ouattara, Mr Gbagbo’s presidential rival.
Gbagbo loyalists have been accused of atrocities against his rivals’ backers.
Mr Ouattara is widely recognised as the winner of last year’s elections.
A UN spokesman said a team that went to Abobo “could see that the armed forces of President Laurent Gbagbo fired at least six missiles on the market and surrounds”.
Hamadane Toure said the shells killed 25 to 30 people and had injured between 40 and 60, AFP reports.
He said the UN expressed its “indignation in the face of such atrocities against innocent civilians” and vowed that the “perpetrators will not go unpunished”.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council approved a measure on Thursday authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians from harm at the hands of forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
The measure allows not only a no-fly zone but effectively any measures short of a ground invasion to halt attacks that might result in civilian fatalities. It comes as Colonel Qaddafi warned residents of Benghazi, Libya, the rebel capital, that an attack was imminent and promised lenient treatment for those who offered no resistance.
The United States, in a sharp shift in tone, wants the United Nations to authorize not just a no-fly zone to aid Libyan rebels but also air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The move toward a tougher stance in favor of military action comes after an extended internal debate within the Obama administration over how to stop Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s battle to put down a rebellion that has threatened his 30-year reign.
The Libyan opposition has appealed for immediate assistance to prevent the rebel capital of Benghazi from falling to forces loyal to Gadhafi, and the question facing President Barack Obama and other world leaders was whether the action they planned to take would come in time.
NEW: It’s a “race against time” to get a U.N. resolution, David Cameron’s spokesman says
Libyan state TV claims Gadhafi’s forces control Ajdabiya, but CNN sees no evidence of that
U.S. Ambassador Rice: We are seriously considering a range of options
Fighting rages in Ajdabiya, the last rebel town between Gadhafi and rebel stronghold
United Nations (CNN) — The United States is suggesting that the United Nations should do more than just impose a no-fly zone on Libya as Moammar Gadhafi’s forces fight their way east towards the rebel capital of Benghazi.
Air strikes against Gadhafi’s forces are among options being discussed as diplomats try to hammer out a U.N. Security Council resolution, a diplomatic source said.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. raised the possibility of “going beyond a no-fly zone,” Wednesday.
Ambassador Susan Rice said a “range of actions” were up for serious discussion, including but not limited to a no-fly zone, which has “inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians.” She said she hopes to see a serious resolution as early as Thursday.
Libyan rebels have deployed tanks, artillery and a helicopter to repel an attack by forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi on the key town of Ajdabiya.
The BBC’s Ian Pannell, in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, says this is the first time defecting army units have faced government forces.
If taken, the town would open the way to Benghazi, Libya’s second city, with a population of one million.
A UN Security Council vote on action in Libya could be held later on Thursday.
The US now favours imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, and even taking further measures, to halt the advance of pro-Gaddafi loyalists.
Russia expressed concern at some of the implications of the proposals and put forward a counter-resolution.