The government of Muammar Qaddafi called Sunday for an immediate cease-fire between Libyan government loyalists and opposition forces. The call came a day after the rebels launched an attack on Tripoli, coordinated with continuing air strikes by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Al-Jazeera television reported that 31 government troops were killed and 42 captured in the fighting, which included light weapons and mortar fire, according to rebel sources, who said on Sunday that they were less than 20 miles from Qaddafi's main stronghold.
Spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told a news conference in the capital, "We are here to, sincerely as always, appeal for an immediate cease-fire, an immediate halt of NATO's aggression against our nation, and for all parties to sit down and begin a peaceful way out of this crisis." He added, "We believe unless the international community heeds this appeal, many people will be killed and terrible crimes will be committed inside several Libyan cities."
Ibrahim accused NATO of targeting civilian buildings including schools, hospitals, farms and houses. NATO said the shifting battle lines and concentration of fighting in towns and villages are making it more difficult to identify and engage targets for the strikes. Fox News cited NATO spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie as saying, "It's much tougher to do in an urban area... This requires very precise and deep intelligence to achieve without endangering the civilian population."
The Associated Press said that Tripoli was largely quiet on Sunday after a night of gunfire and explosions.