Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces blasted the minaret of a mosque containing anti-government protesters.

Gaddafi’s forces blasted the mosque with anti-aircraft missiles and automatic weapons after the protesters refused to leave the area.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s cousin Ahmed Gadhaf, one of the dictator’s closest aides, has left for Egypt to protest against the bloody violence on civilians, condemning the “grave violations to human rights and human and international laws”.

The dictator’s actions have helped him maintain control of Tripoli, but in the east, tribal leaders, residents and military officers have formed local administrations, passing out weapons taken from security forces’ arsenals.

Gaddafi  now only has control in the north west corner around Tripoli, the south-west deserts and parts of the centre.

According to the International Federation for Human Rights, protesters have control in Sirte, Tobruk, Misrata, Khoms, Tarhounah, Zenten, Zawiya and Zouara.

One of the country’s largest tribes, Warfalah, is backing the protesters with elders condemning the “hideous crimes of Gaddafi and his regime”.