Libyan Rebels Surround Gaddafi Stronghold

Rebel fighters in Libya amassed outside Bani Walid, Col. Muammar Gaddafi's hometown, on Tuesday, ready for battle, as negotiations over the town’s surrender had earlier appeared to have broken down. The National Transitional Council fighters have given Gaddafi’s loyalists two deadlines to surrender, and thousands of troops were reported outside the town, located about 90 miles from Tripoli. Meanwhile, U.S. officials said Gaddafi did not appear to be part of the convoy of Libyan leaders who defected to Niger on Tuesday. The U.S. ambassador to Niger, Bisa Williams, said she had spoken to Niger’s government about the convoy, and that the U.S. had “strongly urged” that the convoy be detained. Members of the rebel forces raided the houses of suspected supporters of Gaddafi on Tuesday in search of top officials and the deposed leader himself. Late Tuesday, Reuters reported that Gaddafi was last tracked in southern Libya, heading for Niger or Chad.