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Africa

Kadhafi forces get four days to surrender or face military action

media Libyan rebels on the way to Sirte Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori

Rebels in Libya have given a Saturday ultimatum for Moamer Kadhafi's forces to surrender or face a military onslaught. National Transitional Council, NTC, chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil speaking from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi on Tuesday said the respite was offered to mark the three-day Eid al-Fitr Muslim feast which follows the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

 

"From Saturday, if no peaceful solution is in sight on the ground, we will resort to military force," he warned.

Algeria meanwhile has defended its decision to give shelter to the embattled Libyan leader’s wife and three children saying it was based on humanitarian concerns. Libyan rebels who toppled the longtime strongman are demanding they be returned for trial.

"We'd like those persons to come back," NTC spokesman Mahmud Shammam said in Tripoli, claiming that Algeria had given the family members "a pass" to enter a third country.

So far Algeria has not recognised the NTC and has adopted a stance of strict neutrality on the Libyan conflict, leading some among the rebels to accuse it of supporting the Kadhafi regime.

Just hours after crossing over, the Algerian authorities announced that daughter Aisha had given birth to a girl.

The newborn girl was named Safiya, after their grandmother, according to the daily Ennahar, which said the family crossed via the Tinkarine border post in the far south and was flown 400 kilometres northwest to Djanet, where Aisha was admitted to hospital.

The family has been placed in a residence under guard in the desert town, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, Nato said on Tuesday its warplanes have fired a new barrage of bombs against Kadhafi forces holed up in Sirte, 360 kilometres east of Tripoli destroying 22 vehicles mounted with weapons, four radars, three command and control nodes, one anti-aircraft missile system and one surface-to-air missile system.

And rebel reinforcements are reported to be arriving at Bin Jawad, 100 kilometres east of Sirte. Occasional explosions could be heard from near Nofilia, a desert hamlet just inland from Bin Jawad, while rebel T-55 tanks and armoured vehicles move towards the front line to take up positions in the sand dunes.

Other rebel fighters have moved to within 30 kilometres of Sirte from the west and were awaiting the reinforcements, rebel commander Mohammed al-Fortiya, told the French news agency.
 

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