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The Malaysian Insider :: World


Gaddafi says Libya fighting terrorism, raps lack of help

Posted: 05 Mar 2011 05:09 PM PST

A rebel fighter fires a cannon during a battle near Ras Lanuf, March 4, 2011. — Reuters pic

TRIPOLI, March 6 — Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has embarked on a public relations campaign aimed at softening European public opinion in an interview with a French newspaper.

He told Journal du Dimanche in the interview released today that he was engaged in a fight against terrorism, and expressed dismay at the absence of support from abroad.

Gaddafi said he was battling the threat of "Islamic jihad in the Mediterranean", and said there was a risk of an influx of Libyan migrants into Europe if anti-government rebels won.

"I am surprised that nobody understands that this is a fight against terrorism," the long-time autocrat of the North African oil-producing state told the Journal du Dimanche, in excerpts of an interview due to be published later today.

"Our security services cooperate. We have helped you a lot these past few years. So why is it that when we are in a fight against terrorism here in Libya no one helps us in return?" — Reuters

 

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Gaddafi forces step up attack on western rebel town

Posted: 05 Mar 2011 03:29 PM PST

A rebel fighter takes aim with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher outside Bin Jawad, March 5, 2011. — Reuters pic

Rebel fighters fire an anti-aircraft gun near Bin Jawad March 5, 2011. — Reuters pic

TRIPOLI, March 6 — Libyan government forces launched fierce attacks on the western rebel stronghold of Zawiyah yesterday, while in the east, rebels advanced on Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte.

Fighters in Zawiyah, 50km west of Tripoli, repelled two attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces, who used tanks and artillery. Dozens of rebels armed with rifles manned rooftops, watching nearby streets from behind piles of sandbags. Roads and side streets were barricaded with rebel checkpoints.

"After the morning attack they attacked again," rebel spokesman Youssef Shagan said by telephone. "They entered from the west and started shooting rockets at buildings in the square.

"We are in a good position . . . They will attack again at night, we think."

A doctor in Zawiyah said at least 30 people, mostly civilians, had been killed during fighting in the day, bringing to at least 60 the death toll from two days of battles.

Abu Akeel, a Zawiyah resident, told Reuters that government forces had shelled houses and fired on a mosque where people were taking shelter. Another resident said he saw more than 20 tanks advance across the main square during the second assault.

One resident, Ali, said he could still hear sporadic exchanges of fire after nightfall.

"The boys are still in the square. People are locking themselves at home, they fear another attack tonight," he told Reuters by phone from the town. "We fear a massacre."

People opposed to Gaddafi's 41-year rule have been fighting his forces in Zawiyah for more than a week, after rebels took over large parts of eastern Libya in an uprising inspired by the overthrow of long-standing rulers in Egypt and Tunisia this year. — Reuters

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