Gaddafi says Libyans will fight no-fly zone
Muammar Gaddafi said in an interview broadcast on Wednesday that Libyans would fight back if Western nations impose a no-fly zone to prevent the regime from using its air force to bomb government opponents staging a rebellion.
He said imposing the restrictions would prove the West’s real intention was to seize his country’s oil. Gaddafi made his remarks in an interview aired Wednesday by Turkey’s state-run TRT Turk television.In separate remarks, Gaddafi called on Libyans in the rebel-held east of the country to take back control from the opposition leaders who have seized the territory.
In the interview, Gaddafi was responding to US and British plans for action against his regime, including imposing a no-fly zone to prevent Gaddafi’s warplanes from striking rebels. Gaddafi claimed such a move would lead Libyans to understand that the foreigners’ aim was to seize oil and take their freedom away.
If that happened, he said, he “Libyans will take up arms and fight.” Gaddafi again blamed al Qaeda operatives from Egypt, Algeria, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories for the turmoil roiling his country since February 15.
Rebels retreat in Ras Lanuf
Libyan rebels broken by government shelling and air strikes fled back to the oil town of Ras Lanuf on Wednesday, just as a huge pipeline blast sent fireballs leaping into the sky.
A series of powerful explosions went off near an oil facility while loyalists of Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi were raining artillery shells on rebel positions five kilometres west of the town.
Amid scenes of chaos, dozens of vehicles packed with rebels streamed back from the fighting west of the town, accompanied by ambulances laden with casualties and with their sirens blaring, as a witness said the shelling was getting closer to Ras Lanuf.