Saturday, 2 July 2011
Gaddafi vows to sting Europe like 'swarm of bees'
The embattled leader says Libyan forces will target European "homes, offices, and families" in a series of attacks like "locusts and bees".
His message comes after France confirmed it had supplied weapons to anti-government rebels, delivering arms to Berber tribal fighters near the capital Tripoli.
Mr Gaddafi's threat was made during an audio message played to thousands of supporters gathered in Tripoli.
In the a speech to mark 100 days of the NATO military campaign, he also urged supporters to retrieve the weapons that France supplied to rebels battling his regime.
"The Libyan people are capable, one day, of taking the battle to Europe and the Mediterranean" region, Mr Gaddafi said in the message, as thousands of supporters massed in Green Square in the centre of the capital.
"They could attack your homes, your offices, your families [who] could become legitimate military targets because you have transformed our offices, headquarters, homes and children into military targets which you say are legitimate.
"If we decide to do so, we are capable of throwing ourselves on Europe like swarms of locusts or bees.
"So we advise you to back-track before you face a catastrophe."
The ever-flamboyant leader was speaking from a secret location, but his voice boomed across Tripoli's the landmark square, where the authorities were hoping to gather 1 million regime supporters.
The crowds, waving green flags and carrying portraits of Mr Gaddafi, chanted slogans of allegiance to "God, Gaddafi and Libya," while some fired guns into the air in celebration as the night sky was lit by fireworks.
"March on ... and seize the weapons that the French have supplied. If later you want to pardon them [the rebels], that's up to you," Mr Gaddafi said.
French foreign minister Alain Juppe said overnight that this week's arms drop was meant only to defend peaceful civilians from Mr Gaddafi's forces and thus fell in line with existing UN resolutions on the conflict.
"Civilians had been attacked by Gaddafi's forces and were in an extremely vulnerable situation and that is why medicine, food and also weapons of self-defence were parachuted," Mr Juppe said on French radio.
"It is not a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions" under which France and other allies launched air strikes and imposed embargoes to protect civilians from Mr Gaddafi, Mr Juppe said.
A US State Department spokesman says Mr Gaddafi's threats should be taken seriously.
Several loud explosions, presumed to be NATO air strikes, were heard in Tripoli hours after Mr Gaddafi made his comments.
Meanwhile, an African Union summit on Friday said African nations will not execute an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for Mr Gaddafi, saying it "seriously complicates" efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
On June 27, the ICC issued warrants for Mr Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, and the head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, for atrocities committed in the bloody uprising.
Posted by Mikko at 19:02