Libya's government has announced an immediate ceasefire against pro-democracy protesters, hours after the United Nations Security Council authorised a no-fly zone over the country.
In a statement televised on Friday, Moussa Koussa, the Libyan foreign minister, said his government was interested in protecting all civilians and foreigners.
"We decided on an immediate ceasefire and on an immediate stop to all military operations," he said, adding "[Libya] takes great interest in protecting civilians".
Koussa said because his country was a member of the United Nations it was "obliged to accept the UN Security Council's resolutions".
But government forces continued to fire on the rebel-held western city of Misurata, witnesses said, where an earlier attack had claimed the lives of at least 25 people.
Abdulbasid Abu Muzairik, a resident in the western coastal town, told Al Jazeera there was shelling from artillery and tanks.
"The Gaddafi forces are at the outskirts of the city but they continue to shell the centre of the city," he said. "The ceasefire has not taken place; he [Gaddafi] is still continuing up until now to shell and kill the people in the city."
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Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tripoli, said the government's statement was "very carefully crafted ... very deliberate, almost forensic".
"Clearly the Libyans have been poring over their United Nations charters to decide which bits to disagree with and on the whole they can't find very much."
"My hunch is that it is an effort to buy time because the Libyans, I think, have been taken completely by surprise by this sudden resurgence of an [international] consensus on action."
The ceasefire declaration also contrasted with earlier comments by Muammar Gaddafi, the country's leader, who warned residents of Benghazi, the eastern rebel stronghold, that his forces would show "no mercy" in an impending assault on the city.
"We will track them [fighters] down, and search for them, alley by alley, road by road," he said in a radio address on Thursday.