Fighting is raging for a third day in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, as rebels are targeting strategic areas of the city. President Charles Taylor remains defiant and has said his forces will fight the rebels to the last man.
Fighting continued through the night as heavily armed rebels clashed with government forces in Monrovia. Rebels are targeting the port area and the international airport, as well as the bridges that cross the lagoon along which Monrovia is built.
A French photographer was seriously wounded in the crossfire Saturday and remains in critical condition.
Many foreigners have taken refuge in the well-fortified U.S. embassy compound. The U.S. government has sent 41 Marines to re-enforce the embassy's guard unit.
The rebels want President Taylor out of office and out of the country immediately. Mr. Taylor has agreed to leave the day an international peacekeeping force arrives in Liberia.
But plans for such a force have been delayed and a reconnaissance team from Nigeria has just arrived in Liberia to prepare the way for the first contingent of regional peacekeepers.
Washington has said it will consider sending U.S. troops, but only when regional forces are in place.
This is the third serious assault by rebels on Monrovia since June. Tens of thousands of civilians have converged on the city to escape the fighting.
The United States and other countries are urging both sides to seek a solution through negotiations, to avoid further suffering by the Liberian people.