The head of Libya's interim council set a Saturday deadline for remaining loyalist towns to surrender or face fierce military battles.
Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council, told reporters Tuesday that the rebels are in negotiations with tribal elders and hope that by the end of the Eid holidays, loyalists will surrender in places like Sirte, Moammar Gadhafi's hometown.
Jalil said the rebels hope to "avoid more bloodshed and to avoid more destruction and damage."
But in the end," he said, "it might have to be decided militarily. I hope this will not be the case."
As fighting continued for the last bastions of Gadhafi's grip, the strongman's whereabouts still were unknown. Members of his family, including Gadhafi's wife Safia, two sons - Moahamed and Hannibal - and daughter Aisha escaped to Algeria.
Mourad Benmehidi, Algeria's ambassador to the United Nations, said his nation allowed them to enter on "humanitarian grounds."
Unlike Libya's other neighbors, Algeria has not recognized the authority of the National Transitional Council and that nation's authoritarian government has much to fear with Arab revolutions so close to home.
Jalil said Tuesday that the rebels would ask Algeria to extradite members of the Gadhafi family back to Libya. He also said that once Libyan liberation was complete, the country would set up courts to hear people's complaints against the Gadhafi regime.
Rebel fighters forged ahead Tuesday toward Sirte, situated along the Mediterranean coast between the capital, Tripoli, and the opposition nerve center of Benghazi.FULL STORY