TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI (Reuters) - Libyan troops pushed forward toward the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi on Thursday and launched air raids on its outskirts as momentum gathered in support of air raids to stop Muammar Gaddafis forces. The United States hoped the UN Security Council would pass a resolution later on Thursday that included, but was not limited to, the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, raising the prospect of bombing raids. Any action could include France, Britain, possibly the United States and one or more Arab states, the source said. Undersecretary of State William Burns said Gaddafis forces had made significant strides on the ground and were now about 160 km from Benghazi. The Libyan army said it would halt its operations on Sunday to give the rebels a chance to surrender, Al Arabiya television reported. Libyan state TV said govt troops had taken Zueitina, an oil port on the coastal highway 130 km from Benghazi. In Benghazi, the city where the revolution began, residents and a rebel spokesman reported three air strikes on the outskirts, including at the airport, and another air raid further south. Residential areas of Ajdabiyah was the scene of heavy fighting on Thursday and around 30 people were killed, Al Arabiya reported. On the approaches to Ajdabiyah, burned-out cars lay by the roadside while Libyan government forces showed the foreign media artillery, tanks and mobile rocket launchers much heavier weapons than those used by the rebels. In Misrata rebels and residents said they were preparing for a new attack by Libyan troops, who had shelled the coastal city overnight. A govt spokesman said Gaddafis forces expected to be in control of Misrata by Friday morning. The United States, previously cool on the idea of a foreign military intervention, said the UN Security Council should consider tougher action than a no-fly zone over Libya. Discussions are under way on the possible direct involvement of Arab nations in any international military action against Gaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. US officials said on Thursday that Washington wanted the United Nations to authorize not just a no-fly zone to aid Libyan rebels but also air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery. Referring to the U.N. resolution on Libya that Washington hopes will be passed later on Thursday, Clinton said: Britain said the latest draft resolution on Libya under discussion at the United Nations called for all necessary measures short of an occupation force to protect civilians under threat of attack. Gaddafi, in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro, said his troops aim was to liberate the people from the armed gangs that occupy Benghazi. Gaddafi said his forces were set to regain control over the rebel-held towns of Misrata and Benghazi, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday. A rebel spokesman said on Thursday Libyan rebel forces had shot down two government warplanes raiding Benghazi in the east of the country. There was no immediate comment from official sources. The head of NATO said on Thursday he did not think it was too late to intervene in Libya but much depended on the United Nations.