Wed, June 01, 2011
World > Africa

Gaddafi: I will not leave my country(2)

2011-06-01 05:22:26 GMT2011-06-01 13:22:26(Beijing Time)

A photo released by the South African government shows South African President Jacob Zuma (L) meeting with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi on May 30 during his one-day visit to Tripoli. (AFP/Ntswe Mokoena)

Rebels control the east of Libya around the city of Benghazi, Libya's third-biggest city Misrata, and a mountain range stretching from the town of Zintan, 150 km (95 miles) south of Tripoli, toward the border with Tunisia.

Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years, says his forces are fighting armed criminal gangs and al Qaeda militants and portrays the NATO intervention as an act of colonial aggression aimed at grabbing Libya's ample oil reserves.

His government says NATO's bombing campaign has killed 718 Libyan civilians and wounded 4,067, including 433 seriously.

NATO has denied killing large numbers of civilians, and foreign reporters in Tripoli have not been shown evidence of large numbers of civilian casualties.

Asked why the authorities had not shown large numbers of casualties to foreign media, Ibrahim said casualties had not been concentrated near Tripoli but scattered across the country.

Two large explosions were heard in the Libyan capital on Tuesday but it was not immediately clear where the bombs fell.

Speaking in the main rebel stronghold of Benghazi where he was opening a consulate, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he had pledged an aid package for the rebels worth hundreds of millions of euros.

"I think the Gaddafi regime is over and I firmly believe that it is over for a simple reason: we are talking about a person whose closest friends are defecting. He lost his legitimacy in Libya," Frattini said.


Western powers have said they expect Gaddafi will be forced out by a process of attrition as air strikes, defections from his entourage and shortages take their toll.

A Reuters photographer in Misrata said there was heavy fighting in the suburb of Dafniyah, in the west of the city, where the front line is now located after rebel fighters drove pro-Gaddafi forces out of the city.

Speaking from a field hospital near the front line, she quoted medical workers as saying one person had been killed and 29 people had been injured so far on Tuesday.

There were reports too of clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi in the Western mountains.

A rebel spokesman in the town of Zintan told Reuters by telephone: "Fighting took place last night in (the village of) Rayayna, east of Zintan ... It continued until the early hours of this morning. Both sides used mortars."

Malta recognized the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council as the only legitimate point of dialogue between Malta and Libya on Tuesday and said it would send a delegation to the rebel capital of Benghazi, Al Jazeera television reported.


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