Italy has now joined France and Britain is sending military advisers to assist rebel forces in Libya.

Maurizio Massari, a spokesman for the Italian Foreign Ministry, said Rome will dispatch military instructors to train the rebels in self-defense tactics.

Earlier today, the French government stated that it will send a small group of military officers to Libya to help advise rebel groups in that country who are fighting a brutal war against Moammar Gaddafi.

The action follows a similar decision yesterday by the British government.

These are a few units of advisers carrying out a liaison mission under the National [Transitional] Council. Their task is to ensure protection of the civilian population, said Francois Baroin, the spokesman for the French government.

According to reports, France will send fewer than ten officers.

However, Baroin said the French government has no intention of dispatching military forces to Libya.

We do not envisage deploying combat ground troops, he said.

Still, there is some disagreement over the issue within French political circles.

France’s Defense Minister Gerard Longuet has said that the deployment of ground troops should be considered by the UN Security Council.

Libyan officials have already criticized Britain’s maneuver, warning that it would only serve to prolong the crisis.

Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi said the presence of foreign military personnel represented a step backwards.

Separately, Reuters reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to increase military air strikes in Libya under the auspices of NATO’s campaign to destroy Gaddafi’s military targets and protect civilians.

Libyan rebel leader Abdul Jalil met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, thanking the French for their brave decision to support the Libyan revolution.

Meanwhile, Libyan state TV has reported that western coalition airplanes were bombing telecommunications and broadcasting targets in several cities.

Also, British warplanes are attacking tanks and artillery “in and around” Misrata in western Libya, where Gaddafi soldiers have bombarded rebel forces who have still managed to control the city.

Hundreds of people are believed to have died in Misrata, including many unarmed civilians who have reportedly killed indiscriminately by Gaddafi troops.