Gaddafi defiant as fresh explosions rock Tripoli

Gaddafi defiant as fresh explosions rock Tripoli

 A defiant Muammar Gaddafi today vowed to crush the ''unjust aggression'' mounted by western powers as fresh explosions rocked Tripoli and coalition forces set their eyes on halting Libyan tanks advancing towards rebel strongholds of Misurata, Ajdabiya and Zintan.

"I am here. I am here. I am here," the 68-year-old Libyan leader shouted from a balcony to supporters who cheered him, asserting "we will not surrender".

The state TV said the Libyan ruler was speaking from his Bab Al-Aziziya residential compound, where a three-storey building housing his command and control centre was flattened by a cruise missile on Sunday night.

Making his first public appearance since the launch of coalition air strikes on his forces last Saturday, Gaddafi pledged victory and said he was ready to die as a "martyr" in Libya.

"In the short term, we'll beat them, in the long term, we'll beat them," thundered Gaddafi, who slammed the West, calling the attack an "unjust aggression" and giving no signs of yielding to international pressure to give up his 41-year rule of the oil-rich north African nation.

Two explosions were heard in Tripoli which came under attack by the coalition forces for the fifth day.

Reports reaching the Libyan capital said at least 17 people were killed in Misurata in fierce fighting between Gaddafi's forces and the rebels. Rebels claimed that more that 50 people including children were killed in the heavy shelling by government troops.
Intense fighting also raged for the town of Zintan where outgunned rebel forces were repeatedly thrown back by Gaddafi's forces.

Al Jazeera said that the siege by Gaddafi's forces of Misruta had almost entered the fourth week and the situation in the city was turning grim with shortage of food, water and medicines.

The Arab channel said that a similar situation prevailed in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, where neither side appeared to be making any breakthrough.

BBC said that divisions were appearing among the rebels, with some pressing for pushing on to Tripoli, while others wanted to take Ajdabiya and consolidate their hold in the East, hoping Libyan people in other cities will rise up and liberate themselves.
Gaddafi's aggressive posturing came even as US President Barack Obama ruled out any changes in the "Operation Odyssey Dawn" for Libya till Gaddafi was in power or till the time he changed his approach towards his own people.

"As long as Gaddafi remains in power, unless he changes his approach and provides the Libyan people an opportunity to express themselves freely and there are significant reforms in the Libyan government, unless he is willing to step down, that there are still going to be potential threats towards the Libyan people," Obama said

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