LIBYA

Libyan Rebels Close In on Gaddafi

Libyan rebel fighters advanced Wednesday on the city of Sebha, one of leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s southern strongholds and a regional power center. The rebel forces were 80 miles away from Sebha, a city of 130,000 that Gaddafi has managed to keep tightly under his control through strong tribal support. Also on Wednesday,rebel leaders met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, and asked him to support their plans to mount a military offensive on Tripoli. But, in what could be a blow to the rebels’ plans, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Gaddafi could remain in Libya as long as he relinquishes power; Sarkozy was noncommittal about the rebels’ request.