MONROVIA, LIBERIA JULY 20 -- The following, transmitted by the Associated Press, is a pool report by foreign correspondents in Liberia:
Rebels overran most of northern Monrovia today, pushing several hundred remaining government troops onto a narrow strip of land on both sides of President Samuel K. Doe's executive mansion.
Witnesses reported many casualties among government troops, and shipping sources said two Liberian coast guard cutters were sunk in the port by rebel gunfire.
The United States said it would not intervene to halt the two-day-old offensive by the rebels, the latest in their seven-month war to overthrow Doe.
The rebels, led by a former official in Doe's government, Charles Taylor, captured Monrovia's port area in the northern suburb of Bushrod Island. They advanced toward the two bridges linking the island to the center of the capital.
According to witnesses, infiltrating rebel forces fought pitched battles with government soldiers who remained on Bushrod Island. The main bridge across the Mesurado River was littered with the bodies of government troops.
In Washington, the State Department said the United States has no plans to dispatch a U.S. peacekeeping force requested by some Liberian officials.
Spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler confirmed that President Bush had received an appeal from Foreign Minister J. Rudolph Johnson and eight other prominent Liberians for a temporary U.S. force.
But Nelson Taylor, the rebel leader's brother, said the appeal for U.S. help "is just one of the scams that Doe is using to involve the U.S. in a battle with the citizens of Liberia."
In downtown Monrovia, every shop and office was shut. Troops ordered civilians off the streets, in an unofficial daytime curfew.
The curfew was in effect throughout the government-controlled areas and has prevented refugees from reaching a small airport in Monrovia to catch the few flights out of the country.
Soldiers set up makeshift roadblocks at downtown intersections, firing wildly into the air to clear terrified civilians from the streets.
Hundreds of frightened Monrovians gathered at the gates of the U.S. Embassy hoping to seek refuge, while scores of others broke into a U.S. Marine compound demanding food and shelter.
Government representatives and rebel delegates have met intermittently for peace talks in neighboring Sierra Leone, but have failed to make progress. The rebels have refused to compromise on their demand that Doe resign before any cease-fire can be implemented.
The rebels have accused Doe, who took power in a 1980 coup, of corruption, mismanagement and widespread human-rights abuses. Taylor has promised to maintain close U.S. ties if he comes to power, but he has ruled out immediate elections.