Hundreds of rebels clash with government forces in Chad's capital

Hundreds of rebels charged into Chad's capital aboard pickup trucks, clashing with government troops around the presidential palace in the most forceful attempt yet to oust President Idriss Deby. Libya's official news agency, JANA, reported that Chadian rebel leader Mahamat Nouri agreed to a cease-fire Saturday night after speaking to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was appointed by the African Union to mediate in the crisis. The report could not be confirmed. Rebel spokesmen could not be reached on their cellular and satellite telephones late Saturday. The violence endangered a US$300 million global aid operation supporting millions of people in the former French colony and also delayed the deployment of the European Union's peacekeeping mission to both Chad and neighboring Central African Republic. The rebels arrived after a three-day push across the desert from the eastern border with Sudan in about 250 pickups with mounted submachine guns.