Gaddafi takes aim

Libyans armed and ready for long war

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

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

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