Libyan Rebels Poised to Attack Gadhafi Stronghold

Libyan rebels say they are poised to lay siege to Bani Walid, one of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s remaining strongholds. The anti-Gadhafi fighters said Sunday they are ready to attack.

Saturday the Libyan National Transitional Council had urged civilians in areas still held by Gadhafi’s forces to come over to its side, vowing no revenge would be taken.

NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said his forces are in a “position of strength” and can enter any city, but that they want to avoid bloodshed.

During a news conference Saturday in Benghazi, Jalil also said a one-week truce was in effect for holdouts of the former government. He said now was the time for Gadhafi loyalists in Sirte, Bani Walid and several other locations to peacefully surrender.

The NTC has extended a deadline for all opponents to lay down arms until next Saturday. NTC officials hope that they can avoid laying siege to civilian areas.

Turkey’s ambassador to the new Libya, Ali Kemal Aydin, called on Moammar Gadhafi to give up to avoid further bloodshed, adding the ousted leader should surrender to the justice of the Libyan people.

Also Saturday, U.N. envoy Ian Martin arrived in Tripoli for talks with the NTC on Libya’s future.