Gaddafi in chilling threat to Europe
Published 02/07/2011 | 05:00
LIBYAN leader Muammar Gaddafi issued a chilling warning to Europe last night that any further attacks on Libya would prompt retaliation.
He also told supporters gathered in the capital Tripoli to "get ready to end the fight".
"If we decide, we can also take" the battle to Europe, Gaddafi said, threatening Libya's "enemies" with "an eye for an eye".
Pro-Gaddafi protesters waving green flags packed the Green Square in Tripoli.
The Libyan leader said his country's fate would be decided by its people and that the West should talk to them about peace, not him.
He claimed that the people would not accept a substitute for his leadership and urged his supporters to march peacefully in rebel strongholds.
"Like you marched today on Green Square, march on the western mountain and march on Misrata, too -- unarmed," he told the cheering crowds. "If we don't get our oil back from Brega, you should march there."
The oil-rich east is under the control of rebels who are trying to end Gaddafi's four-decade rule.
Meanwhile, rebels who had advanced to within 50 miles of Gaddafi's stronghold in the capital were forced to retreat yesterday after coming under a barrage of rocket fire from government forces.
The rebels' advance five days ago to the outskirts of the small town of Bir al-Ghanam had raised the possibility of a breakthrough in the four-month old conflict, which has become the bloodiest of the 'Arab Spring' uprisings.
However, the reversal underlines the resilience of Gaddafi's forces, who have withstood 15 weeks of bombardment by NATO missiles and war planes, and attempts by rebels on three fronts to break through their lines.
France this week became the first member of the anti-Gaddafi alliance to acknowledge that it had supplied weapons to the rebels.
It said it used parachutes to drop assault rifles and rocket launchers, along with humanitarian supplies.