Gaddafi takes aim
Libyans armed and ready for long war
LIBYAN leader Muammar Gaddafi says all Libya’s people have been armed and are ready to fight a ‘‘ long war’’ to defeat foreign forces attacking his country, in a televised audio message.
‘‘ All the Libyan people are united. The Libyan men and women have been given weapons and bombs ... You will not advance, you will not step on this land,’’ Gaddafi said.
‘‘ We promise you a long, drawnout war with no limits.’’
The Libyan leader was speaking on state television for a second straight day without appearing in front of camera.
‘‘ We are ready for a long war. You are not prepared for a long war in Libya. We are prepared. This is a very happy moment we are living.’’
The leaders of Britain, France and the US would ‘‘ fall like Hitler ... Mussolini’’, he warned.
‘‘ All tyrants fall under the pressure of the populist masses.’’
‘‘ America, France, or Britain, the Christians that are in a pact against us today, they will not enjoy our oil ... You are aggressors, you are animals.
‘‘ We do not have to retreat from the battlefield because we are defending our land and our dignity.’’
The Libyan strongman has faced a month-long armed uprising fo- cused in the east of the country.
Libyan state media quoted the armed forces command as saying 48 people were killed and 150 wounded in the allied assault.
It said most of the casualties were children but gave no more details.
An army spokesman said strikes also hit fuel tanks feeding the rebelheld city of Misrata, east of Tripoli.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was ‘‘ deeply concerned’’ about civilians and called on all sides to work to distinguish between civilians and fighters and allow safe access for humanitarian organisations.
Gaddafi’s regime acted quickly in the run-up to the strikes, sending warplanes, tanks and troops into the eastern city of Benghazi, the rebel capital and first city to fall to the rebellion that began on February 15. Then the government attacks appeared to go silent.
Operation Odyssey Dawn, as the allied assault has been dubbed, followed an emergency summit in Paris during which the 22 leaders and senior officials agreed to do everything necessary to make Gaddafi respect a Security Council resolution on Thursday calling for the no-fly zone and demanding a cease fire , French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.
AIR STRIKE: A Libyan jet bomber is seen crashing after being hit over the rebel stronghold city of Benghazi