LIBYA, March 9, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) —- Libyan embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi says he won’t quit, describing members of the opposition National Libyan Council as traitors while the government forces continue their attacks on the civilians.
As reported by Iranian Television PRESS TV on Wednesday, beleaguered Gaddafi made the remarks on Tuesday as he addressed people from the Zintan tribe. He blamed the revolution against his rule on foreigners, saying foreign elements brainwashed Libyan youngsters to turn against their country, a Press TV correspondent reported.
The embattled ruler further pointed out that anti-regime protesters belong to al-Qaeda and have come from abroad.
“These elements are completely hopeless, there is no way with them. It’s a small group from Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Palestine who entered cities, they entered Zintan, Zawiyah and Benghazi,” he said.
“They also gave them weapons and machine guns and the kids were happy with them and that is how things became this bad,” he added.
Earlier in the day, he made a visit to a Tripoli hotel packed with journalists. He was expected to brief the reporters but the long-time ruler left the hotel without holding a speech.
Meanwhile, pro-Gaddafi forces escalated aerial attacks on Zawiyah, just 48 kilometers (30 miles) west of the Libyan capital Tripoli on Tuesday and tanks surrounding the city shelled homes from the outskirts, killing unarmed civilians.
City residents say that hospitals cannot manage the influx of injured people and reporters’ lack of access to the area and the fact that the Internet has been blocked have made it difficult to estimate the death toll.
Zawiyah has been in the hands of the opposition since the early days of the revolution. The city is of great significance to Gaddafi since it is the closest to his stronghold in Tripoli.
Elsewhere, government troops have surrounded the southern town of Zintan, but revolutionary forces are still in control.
Airstrikes were launched in the eastern port of Ras Lanuf on Tuesday and jets also struck two hotels in Benghazi, where reporters were staying.
The liberated east of the country is now settling down and moving forward, despite fierce battles between revolutionary and pro-regime forces in some cities.
And the Libyan National Council, recently established by opposition forces and headed by former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, has delivered an ultimatum to Gaddafi and his associates, saying they will not prosecute the dictator for his crimes if he leaves the country within 72 hours.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have agreed on a full range of options on Libya, including a no-fly zone.
A UN resolution on the issue is being drafted and will be discussed by NATO defense ministers on Thursday. (*)