Western forces could launch bombing raids against the Libyan regime as early as Friday after the UN backed international military action.
The first raids, possibly conducted by unmanned drones, could happen within hours if Colonel Gaddafi acts on his threat to "show no mercy" to rebels in Benghazi.
The RAF could become involved in any operation by this evening, according to British sources. However, the raids may be spearheaded by an Arab nation such as Qatar or the UAE.
Last night, Col Gaddafi threatened to launch retaliation attacks against passenger aircraft in the Mediterranean if foreign countries launch air strikes against Libya.
The Libyan regime said that "any foreign military act" would expose "all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea" as targets for a counter attack.
The warning was sounded within hours of the American Government formally backing a joint British and French initiative for a no-fly zone and other military action to be taken against Col Gaddafi's regime. (read more)