Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gadhafi warns of 'long-drawn war' after airstrikes by U.S., allies

Gadhafi warns of 'long-drawn war' after airstrikes by U.S., allies
By the CNN Wire Staff

Action taken to stop Gadhafi

NEW: Gadhafi calls American, British and French forces "terrorists"
NEW: A woman in Tripoli says civilians are given access to anti-aircraft weapons
U.S. military official: Missiles hit about 20 Libyan air and missile defense targets
Britain's David Cameron: "We should not stand aside while this dictator murders his people"
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi promised "a long-drawn war" Sunday after an international coalition hammered the nation's air defense as part of an operation to enforce a no-fly zone.
Gadhafi said the strikes were a confrontation between the Libyan people and "the new Nazis."
"You have proven to the world that you are not civilized, that you are terrorists -- animals attacking a safe nation that did nothing against you," Gadhafi said in a televised speech.
Throughout the address, an image of a golden fist crushing a model plane that said "USA" filled the screen.
At the same time Gadhafi spoke, his regime was shelling the city of Misrata on Sunday morning using tanks, artillery and cannons, a witness said.
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But Gadhafi remained defiant, saying Libya will fight back against undeserved "naked aggression."
In a statement broadcast on state TV, his military said the strikes killed 48 people -- "mostly women, children and religious clerics."
"The majority of these attacks were on public areas, hospitals and schools. They frightened the children and women near those areas that were subject to this aggression," the military said.
CNN could not immediately confirm the claim.
The first international strike against Gadhafi's military took place Saturday when French fighter jets fired at a military vehicle.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called the regime's violence against civilians "murderous madness."
But China's foreign ministry said Sunday it did not agree with the use of force in international relations. And Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also denounced the military intervention.
"They (the United States) want to appropriate the oil in Libya; they don't care about anyone's life in that region," Chavez said.
Gadhafi vowed to open weapons depots and said the U.N. charter provides the nation the right to defend itself in a "war zone." He has also issued messages to international powers and said Libyans are ready to die for him.
Some residents said they could receive weapons to fight back.
"We received a phone call around 3 a.m. that everyone should head out in the streets," a woman in Tripoli said. "Normal civilians are being able to have machine guns and take anti-aircraft machine guns ... to fire back at the airplanes."
In Misrata, a witness said Gadhafi's forces are targeting fuel and power stations to make citizens believe the damage is being done by coalition forces. The witness, who was not identified for security reasons, said people celebrated allied airstrikes on loyalist positions in the city.
CNN could not verify the account.
In the city of Benghazi -- a stronghold for rebels that was attacked by Gadhafi forces -- fighter jets flew overhead Sunday. It was not immediately clear whom the jets belonged to.
U.S. President Barack Obama is planning for the U.S. portion of the military action in Libya to only last for a few days.
"After that we'll take more of a supporting role," said a senior administration official who was not authorized to speak about sensitive military matters.
Obama authorized U.S. military force on what happened to be the eighth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.
In the next few days, U.S. military officials expect to hand over control to a coalition commander. Canada and Italy are also part of the coalition.
Violence has raged in Libya following protests calling for democracy and demanding an end to Gadhafi's almost 42-year-long rule. The protests have been met by force from the Gadhafi regime, and some members of his military defected to the opposition.
Another witness in Tripoli said she's terrified about how Gadhafi might respond to the airstrikes.
"We're scared. We're not sure what will happen next," she said. "To be honest, I'm scared for my life."
CNN's Nic Robertson, Arwa Damon, Yousif Basil, Chris Lawrence, Jill Dougherty, Elise Labott, Ed Henry, Jim Bittermann, Paula Newton and Richard Roth contributed to this report
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Blogger comment:
We have to take physically the Qaddafi and the Libyan people misery away. The more he stands in power the more he will claim victory and the more he will make himself a great figure. The man who stands against the western emperors, Nazi and oppressors. He will use all the rhetoric to his advantage. The more swift we take him the less time, money and humans that are taken away By Qaddafi. The west even can use me as a propaganda. As me Al Mahdi Al Muntazer fully support the west in taking down the savage, evil, corrupt oppressor Qaddafi. President Obama can e-mail me and I can see what I can help him with

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