Rebel reinforcements arrive at Gadhafi stronghold

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TARHOUNA, Libya (AP) -- Rebel reinforcements are arriving outside one of Moammar Gadhafi's last strongholds in Libya, even as the forces arrayed against the toppled dictator give the town a chance to surrender and avoid a fight.

Thousands of rebels surround Bani Walid, a desert town southeast of the capital. Gadhafi has been on the run since losing his capital last month.

A small rebel convoy arrived Monday at a checkpoint about 40 miles (70 kilometers) from Bani Walid. Ismail al-Gitani says the fighters were part of a larger force he commands and that he was ordered to reinforce the northern approaches to Bani Walid.

He refused to say how many fighters he had brought.

Another rebel commander, Mohammed al-Fassi, says the door is still open for negotiations over the town's surrender.