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Defiant Gaddafi Vows Victory As Rebels Advance

PTI 21 Aug 2011, 10:22:03 IST

Tripoli, Aug 21 :A beleaguered Muammar Gaddafi urged supporters today to “march by the millions” and quash a months-long uprising, as strong explosions rocked Tripoli amid fighting between rebels and regime supporters. The blasts were heard shortly after 4:00 am local time in the heart of the city as NATO warplanes flew overhead, an AFP journalist said. The targets were not immediately identifiable but witnesses reported clashes in several quarters between insurgents and Gaddafi supporters.

There was also sustained gunfire in the city. The strongman's appeal came as rebels closed in on Tripoli and claimed his 42-year rule was on its last legs.

“We have to put an end to this masquerade. You must march by the millions to free the destroyed towns” controlled by rebels he labeled as “traitors” and “rats.” “These

scum enter mosques to cry ‘God is great.' They are dirty. They are defiling the mosques,” Gaddafi said in an audio message carried on state television.

Earlier, a Tripoli resident said cries of “Allahu Akbar” could be heard from mosques in the city's eastern sectors. Gaddafi accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy,

whose country is helping lead NATO-coordinated air strikes on the strongman's military assets, of recruiting the rebels as “agents” to steal Libya's vast oil wealth.

“To win the upcoming elections, he wants to be able to say to his people: ‘Here, I'm offering you Libyan oil' and this is going to be achieved with the help of

traitors. “But the Libyan people will not allow France to take its oil or leave Libya to the hands of traitors,” he said. (AFP)