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Fresh NATO Libya Raids As Rebels Reject New Truce Offer

Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi (right) welcomes South African President Jacob Zuma upon his arrival in Tripoli on May 30.
There are reports of renewed NATO air strikes targeting Muammar Qaddafi's regime, following the apparent failure of a new attempt to mediate in the Libyan conflict by South African President Jacob Zuma.

Libyan television reported NATO air raids against targets in Tripoli and Al-Jafra, a city south of the capital.

On May 30, Zuma, representing the African Union (AU) group of nations, met with Qaddafi in Tripoli and said the Libyan ruler was ready to implement an AU-backed truce that would halt NATO air strikes against his regime.

However, there was no indication that Qaddafi is prepared to meet Western and Libyan rebel demands that he resign, and the new offer was quickly rejected by the rebels who have been fighting Qaddafi's regime since February.

"Brother leader [Qaddafi] took up his position today that he's ready to implement the decision of the AU," Zuma said on Libyan television. "There must be a cease-fire, which is unconditional. The view is that that must include bombing by NATO, [which] must also come to an end."

In another development, eight Libyan army officers, including five generals, say they have deserted Qaddafi's regime.

The soldiers, who appeared May 30 in Rome at a news conference arranged by the Italian government, say they are part of a group of up to 120 military officials and soldiers who have defected from Qaddafi's regime in recent days.

compiled from agency reports