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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Libya rebels reject regime offer to talk!

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By BEN HUBBARD and KARIN LAUB , Associated Press / Aug 28, 8:00 AM EDT.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - Libyan rebels on Sunday rejected an offer by Moammar Gadhafi to negotiate and said they have captured the eastern town of Bin Jawwad, forcing regime loyalists to flee after days of fighting.

The opposition fighters have threatened to advance westward on the coastal road toward Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte if tribal leaders there don't agree to surrender peacefully. The fighting in the east comes as the rebels consolidated their hold on the capital, Tripoli, some 350 miles (560 kilometers) to the west of Bin Jawwad.

Mohammed al-Rajali, a spokesman for the rebels on the eastern frontlines, said they captured Bin Jawwad at about 10 p.m. Saturday and deployed forces in the city after days of fighting. He said Gadhafi's forces fled westward and were likely to join regime forces in Sirte, the headquarters of Gadhafi's tribe and his last major bastion of support.

The opposition has threatened to assault the city, which has been heavily targeted by NATO airstrikes, if tribal leaders there refuse a peaceful surrender.

With Gadhafi on the run, his spokesman Moussa Ibrahim called The Associated Press Saturday to say Gadhafi is still in Libya and offering to have his son, al-Saadi, lead talks with the rebels on forming a transitional government. In the past, Gadhafi referred to the rebels as "thugs" and "rats."

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