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Defiant Gaddafi vows to die as martyr
Uses tanks and warplanes to suppress growing rebellion

Tripoli, February 22
Muammar Gaddafi vowed to die in Libya as a martyr in an angry television address today, as rebel troops said eastern regions had broken free from his rule in a burgeoning revolt.

“I am not going to leave this land, I will die here as a martyr,” Gaddafi said on state television, refusing to bow to calls from his own diplomats, soldiers and protesters clamouring in the streets for an end to his four decades at the helm.

“I shall remain here defiant,” said Gaddafi, speaking outside one of his residences, which was heavily damaged in a 1986 US bombing raid that attempted to kill him. Outside the building stood a monument of a giant fist crushing a US warplane.

In a trademark rambling address, Gaddafi urged his supporters to take to the streets, saying protesters warranted the death sentence. He also promised a vague overhaul of government structures

Earlier, witnesses streaming across the Libyan border into Egypt said Gaddafi was using tanks, warplanes and mercenaries in an effort to stamp out the growing rebellion.

In the eastern city of Tobruk, a Reuters correspondent there said sporadic blasts could be heard, the latest sign that Gaddafi’s grip on the oil and gas exporting nation was weakening.

“All the eastern regions are out of Gaddafi’s control now... The people and the army are hand-in-hand here,” said the now former army major Hany Saad Marjaa.

The White House offered its condolences for the “appalling violence” in Libya and said the international community had to speak with one voice on the crisis.

The UN refugee agency, meanwhile, urged Libya’s neighbours to grant refuge to those fleeing the unrest, which was triggered by decades of repression and popular revolts that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

On the Libyan side of the border with Egypt, anti-Gaddafi rebels armed with clubs and Kalashnikov rifles welcomed visitors. One man held an upside-down picture of Gaddafi defaced with the words “the butcher tyrant, murderer of Libyans”, a Reuters correspondent who crossed into Libya reported.

Hundreds of Egyptians flowed in the opposite direction on tractors and trucks, taking with them harrowing tales of state violence and banditry.

In the eastern town of Al Bayda, resident Marai Al Mahry told Reuters by telephone that 26 people including his brother Ahmed had been shot dead overnight by Gaddafi loyalists. “They shoot you just for walking on the street,” he said, sobbing uncontrollably as he appealed for help.

Protesters were attacked with tanks and warplanes, he said. “The only thing we can do now is not give up, no surrender, no going back. We will die anyways, whether we like it or not. It is clear that they don’t care whether we live or not. This is genocide,” said Mahry, 42.

UN rights chief Navi Pillay said the killing could amount to crimes against humanity and demanded an international probe. The revolt in Libya, the third largest oil producer in Africa, has driven oil prices to a 2 ½ year high above $108 a barrel, and OPEC said it would produce more crude if supplies from member Libya were disrupted.

With no end in sight to the crisis, refugees fled to Egypt. “Five people died on the street where I live,” Mohamed Jalaly, 40, told Reuters at Salum on his way to Cairo from Benghazi. “You leave Benghazi and then you have ... nothing but gangs and youths with weapons,” he added. “The way from Benghazi is extremely dangerous,” he said.

As the fighting has intensified some supporters have abandoned Gaddafi. Tripoli’s envoy to India, Ali al-Essawi, resigned and told Reuters that African mercenaries had been recruited to help put down protests. “The fall of Gaddafi is the imperative of the people in streets,” he said. The justice minister also quit and a group of army officers urged soldiers to “join the people”. Two pilots flew their warplanes to nearby Malta. — Reuters





Delhi deplores violence in Libya
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
India tonight deplored the use of force against pro-democracy demonstrators by the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, saying it was totally unacceptable and must not be resorted to.

“It is earnestly hoped that calm is restored at the earliest without any further violence,” the Ministry of External Affairs said. The MEA said New Delhi had been following with serious concern the developments in Libya. It said the ministry and the Indian embassy in Tripoli were closely monitoring the situation in Libya and were in regular touch with representatives of the Indian community.

Indian died in accident: Govt

While confirming that an Indian had died in Libya, the government today denied that the death was due to gunfire during pro-democracy protests in the Arab nation.Official sources said three Indians and two Egyptians were moving in a group from the northern Libyan city of Tobruk to the Egyptian border on February 19 when the vehicle in which they were travelling met with an accident.



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