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Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi vowed Wednesday to fight an uprising against his 41-year rule to “the last man, the last woman”, as rebels repulsed an attack by his forces on an eastern town.
His speech in Tripoli came as the UN refugee agency made a plea for hundreds of planes to end a gridlock at the Tunisia border with Libya, where “acres of people” fleeing the violence are still waiting to cross in freezing conditions.
He challenged calls from home and abroad for him to step down, saying he has “no real power.” Gaddafi, in his speech, blamed al Qaeda for the uprising which has seen him lose control of most of Libya’s east, including its main oil fields.
“Sleeper cells from al Qaeda, its elements, infiltrated gradually ... They believe the world is theirs, they fight everywhere, the intelligence services know them by name,” Gaddafi told the ceremony, which was to mark the anniversary of the launch of the People’s Committees.
But he said “we will fight to the end, to the last man, the last woman ... with God’s help.”
‘Will replace west with India, China’
Gaddafi threatened that Libya will replace western banks, oil firms and companies by others from China, India, Russia and Brazil. He also claimed that Libya’s oil fields and ports are “safe” and “under control.”