Libya Rejects Rebels' Cease-Fire

Libyan rebels, on the defensive after a week of rapid losses, said they would accept a cease-fire if Gaddafi's forces pull out of besieged cities and allow freedom of expression. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the rebel government in Benghazi, said the rebels still demand that Gaddafi leave power, but said he is open to a cease-fire on the condition that "Libyans in western cities have full freedom in expressing their views." He also said Gaddafi must remove "mercenary" troops under a cease-fire. The Libyan government refused, though. "They are asking us to withdraw from our own cities... If this is not mad then I don't know what this is," said a spokesman. Jalil's statements come as Gaddafi's forces continue to besiege Misrata, hammering the rebel-held city with tanks and mortars and attacking shops and homes in the city center.