Perhaps they thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke.

The Libyan government adamantly rejected a ceasefire proposal from rebel groups in the eastern part of the war-torn country.

Mussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Moammar Gaddafi’s regime derided the ceasefire conditions established by the opposition as mad, and added that state troops will remain where they are.

They are asking us to withdraw from our own cities. .... If this is not mad then I don't know what this is. We will not leave our cities, Ibrahim said on Friday.

Rebels had proposed a ceasefire in exchange for government troops to withdraw their soldiers from cities under rebel control. They also requested the right to peacefully protest against Gaddafi after the crisis is resolved.

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the rebel’s interim governing council based in Benghazi, specified that under his proposed terms “the Gaddafi brigades and forces withdraw from inside and outside Libyan cities to give freedom to the Libyan people to choose and the world will see that they will choose freedom.

Abdul-Jalil added, however, that is ultimate desire is still to topple Gaddafi.

Our aim is to liberate and have sovereignty over all of Libya with its capital in Tripoli, he said.

Meanwhile, fighting continued near the key oil city of Brega in the rebel-controlled east; and in the western towns of Misrata and Az Zintan.

Western powers – who thus far have been barred from supplying arms to the rebels – are increasingly worried that Gaddafi’s firepower is simply too strong to be overcome by the under-trained, under-armed ragtag rebel forces.

As time goes by, the military solution to this looks far less likely, and I think the political solution, if not inevitable, looks far more likely, said an Al Jazeera correspondent in Libya.

Separately, the rebel hierarchy said it named Abdel Fatah Yunis, Gaddafi’s former interior minister, as the commander of the opposition military forces.

In addition, Al Jazeera reported that NATO air strikes killed seven civilians and injured two dozen others in the village of Argkuk, near Ajdabiya.
Ibrahim, the government's spokesman, called the air strike a crime against humanity.