Protesters, apparently joined by members of the security forces, seized control over several eastern Libyan cities and towns Feb. 21, including Benghazi, al-Bayda and Durna. The cities were the scene of fierce fighting over the weekend, with protesters forming militias, evidently with the aid of defecting members of the security forces. The regime is reportedly resorting to “mercenaries” from African countries to beat back the militias. Fighting has now spread to the capital, Tripoli, where helicopters and warplanes are reportedly firing from the air on protesters. State TV headquarters, the Interior Ministry building and the offices of the “People’s Committees” that are the pillar of the regime were torched by the Tripoli protesters. The whereabouts of strongman Moammar Qaddafi are not known.