Colonel Gaddafi remained defiant as Western leaders prepared for airstrikes against Libya after the United Nations voted for military action against the despot.

The UN Security Council resolution was approved last night with the backing of the US, France and Britain.

Germany, Russia, China, Brazil and India abstained from voting.

The US were finally persuaded by Britain, France and The Arab League to act urgently just as Gaddafi’s regime moved in on the last remaining rebel stronghold, Benghazi.

The resolution couldn’t come soon enough: only hours earlier Gaddafi vowed to launch a final assault and crush the rebellion against him.

Benghazi residents reportedly rejoiced on the streets at the news.

US officials said attempts to ground Gaddafi’s air force could begin by Sunday with the use of jet fighters, bombers and surveillance aircraft.

Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, hinted that in light of the UN resolution government troops would not attack Benghazi, Agence France-Presse reported. However Gaddafi vowed to “destroy” the rebellion, recapture rebel Benghazi and show “no mercy” to “traitors”.

He has also reportedly closed Libya’s airspace.

Now the US wants airstrikes

Gaddafi’s hench men beat up BBC journalists