Libya official flies to Egypt with Gadhafi message

Libya official flies to Egypt with Gadhafi message

Gadhafi said in a Turkish television interview that Libyans would fight back if Western nations imposed a no-fly zone to prevent his 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 wealth. "Such a situation would be useful," Gadhafi said. "The Libyan people would understand their real aims to take Libya under their control, to take their freedoms and to take their oil and all Libyan people will take up arms and fight."

Hours later, Maj Gen Abdul-Rahman bin Ali al-Saiid al-Zawi, the head of Libya's logistics and supply authority, arrived on a private jet, according to an Egyptian airport official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The Falcon carrying al-Zawi took off from a small Libyan airport and flew through Maltese and Greek airspace before landing in Egypt, according to Greek civilian and military officials. Greek state TV said the plane belongs to the Libyan government, but cited no source for its information.

There have been no public contacts between the Libyan regime and Egypt's ruling generals since the Libyan uprising broke out on Feb 15, and there have been no known government-related flights during that time.

Gadhafi spoke with Turkey's state-run TRT Turk television late yesterday after a surprise appearance at a hotel where foreign journalists are staying in Tripoli. In separate remarks, he called on Libyans in the rebel-held east of the country to take back control from the opposition leaders who have seized the territory. Forces loyal to the Libyan leader have been fighting rebels in the east as well as in a handful of towns close to the capital Tripoli, where he has total control.

In the interview, Gadhafi was responding to US and British plans for action against his regime, including imposing a no-fly zone to prevent Gadhafi's warplanes from striking rebels. Gadhafi 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.