The unrest of the Middle East grows even hotter today as gunfire rings out in masses of protesters. At what point does the United States step in, or should we?

BENGHAZI, Libya -- Libya's rebel movement launched a new push against Muammar al-Qaddafi on Friday, calling for mass demonstrations as it seeks to solidify its gains and loosen the longtime leader's grip on the capital.

Foreign mercenaries and Libyan militiamen loyal to Qaddafi have fought fiercely to roll back the uprising against his rule, attacking two nearby cities Thursday in battles that killed at least 17 people. But rebels made new gains, seizing a military air base, as Qaddafi blamed Osama bin Laden for the upheaval.

A Tripoli resident said people in the capital have received messages on their cell phones urging them to launch demonstrations after Friday prayers, and he said he expected thousands to comply despite fear of pro-Qaddafi militiamen who have been deployed on the streets.

The capital's central Green Square was the site of intense clashes earlier in the week between government supporters and protesters.

The resident said the government detained several activists in Tripoli late Thursday to try to prevent the demonstrations from taking place. Among those detained was Mukhtar al-Mahmoudi, a former member of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, who in the past spent six years in jail, the resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.