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“We want to reach a political solution in Libya, starting with a cease-fire,” he said.

Brief clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Gadhafi demonstrators outside the meeting. The two camps hurled rocks at each other, with at least one protester seen with blooded face after being hit in the head with a stone. The anti-Gadhafi protesters outnumbered the pro-Gadhafi demonstrators, chased them and forced them to flee.

The Egyptian army has not intervened, despite the heavy presence of armed forces in Tahrir Square, where the clashes occurred.

In Tripoli, two strong explosions were heard in afternoon, a resident of the capital said.

He said many people are fasting Thursday, in preparation for mass protests on Friday, which will mark the anniversary of the 1982 U.S. raid on Tripoli.

“People are fasting, asking for God’s help and support for the protesters who are going out tomorrow to call for Gadhafi to step down,” he said.

Prices are skyrocketing, with gasoline scarce and long lines in front of bakeries, the resident said, adding, “Life is becoming harsh in Tripoli.”

Before the latest shelling of Misrata, Libya’s deputy foreign minister, Khaled Kaim, had alleged that several Lebanese militants from the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group were fighting alongside the rebels there.

“There are elements of Hezbollah in Misrata,” he told a news conference in Tripoli on Wednesday. He did not offer evidence, but added, “I am sure all the intelligence agencies in Western countries know that.”

Mr. Kaim accused the international community of blindly siding with the rebels. “They don’t even know (the rebels’) identity,” he said of Western leaders.

Rebel leaders have said they would consider a truce only if Col. Gadhafi is removed from power first.

Maggie Michael reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Geir Moulson and Matthew Lee contributed reporting from Berlin.