Muammar Gaddafi resurfaced on the airwaves yesterday to berate his enemies as rats and stray dogs and insisted he was still in Libya to fight on, but he offered them no clues about where they could find him.
His defiant comments to a Syrian TV station came as new figures estimated that 30,000 people had already been killed in the conflict.
The forces of Libya's new government yesterday tightened a siege on the tribal bastion of Bani Walid, where some suspect the ousted strongman and two of his sons may be sheltering. In exchanges of fire, Gaddafi loyalists in the town launched Grad rockets.
In what Syrian broadcaster Arrai said was a telephone call from Libya early yesterday, 69-year-old Gaddafi, who was toppled by rebels two weeks ago after 42 years in power, rallied supporters and said surrender was out of the question.
"Our resolute Libyan people, the Libyan land is your own. Those who try to take it from you now, they are intruders, they are mercenaries, they are stray dogs. They are trying to seize our ancestral land from you but this is impossible.
"We will not leave our ancestral land," Gaddafi added. "The youths are now ready to escalate the resistance against the rats in Tripoli."