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Kadhafi vows decisive battle

Kadhafi’s son tells Sarkozy to return ‘campaign financing’

FRANCE: Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam on Wednesday told “this clown” French President Nicolas Sarkozy to “give us back our money” allegedly used to finance his 2007 election victory.

Seif al-Islam told Euronews that “we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything” as Kadhafi’s forces closed in on rebels in the eastern city of Benghazi who France recognised as Libya’s legitimate representatives.

“Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign,” Kadhafi’s son said when asked about France, which has along with Britain been leading calls for military intervention in Libya.

“We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people.

“He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”

The French presidency denied the allegation.

Libya’s state-run news agency Jana reported recently that it would soon publish a “grave secret” that would lead to Sarkozy’s downfall.

Kadhafi himself said on Tuesday that his “good friend” Sarkozy had “gone mad.”

“He is my friend but I think he has gone mad. He is suffering from a psychological illness,” Kadhafi told German television.

“That is what people say who are close to him. His aides say that he is suffering from a psychological illness.”

Paris, Thursday, AFP


LIBYA: Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi said his forces would fight a “decisive battle” Thursday, as Washington added its voice to efforts at the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone.

Kadhafi’s latest comments came after his forces pressed rebels in the west on Wednesday and threatened their eastern bastion of Benghazi, despite calls from UN chief Ban Ki-moon for an immediate ceasefire.

“The battle starts today (Wednesday) at Misrata and tomorrow, that will be the decisive battle,” Kadhafi was quoted as saying by state television, referring to Libya’s third city, which has a population of half a million.

“From this evening, you are going to be called to take up arms and tomorrow you will take part in the battle,” he added in an address to a group of young people from Misrata, according to the television report.

Kadhafi urged his audience “not to leave Misrata hostage in the hands of a handful of madmen.”

Tuesday, Libyan state television said the army would soon move against Benghazi, and on Wednesday, Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam predicted that everything would be over in 48 hours.

A rebel spokesman in Misrata, which lies 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the capital Tripoli, said Wednesday that opposition forces had beaten back an attack by Kadhafi loyalists, but that four people were killed and 10 wounded. wIn Zintan, meanwhile, the first western town to go over to the opposition, a witness said “things were starting” there.

And over to the east, witnesses in Ajdabiya, the gateway to Benghazi, said fighting was still under way there. Government sources continued to insist that it had fallen on Tuesday. A doctor told AFP by telephone that fighting was still raging on Wednesday in and around Ajdabiya, which also guards the road to Tobruk and the Egyptian border in the rebel-held east.

“We received four bodies today, all rebel fighters,” Abdelkarim Mohammed said, adding that 22 dead, mainly civilians killed by artillery or air strikes, had been brought in on Tuesday.

As talks resumed in the divided UN Security Council, Ban spokesman Martin Nesirky said the secretary general was “gravely concerned” about signs that Kadhafi was preparing to attack Benghazi.

“A campaign to bombard such an urban centre would massively place civilian lives at risk,” he said. w“The secretary general is urging all parties in this conflict to accept an immediate ceasefire...,” he added.

The Red Cross announced Wednesday it was moving its staff in Benghazi eastwards to Tobruk until security improved, handing food and other relief provisions to the local Red Crescent society.

A day earlier, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, MSF) pulled its staff out of Benghazi.

In Cairo on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We want to do what we can to protect innocent Libyans against the marauders let loose by the Kadhafi regime.”

But she stopped short of explicitly backing a no-fly zone, saying it was one of several options under consideration. She did however say that the Arab League’s endorsement of action against one of its own members, including a no-fly zone, had made an impact on the views of the major powers on the Security Council.

Hours later, at the United Nations in New York, the US position appeared to have hardened against Kadhafi. Washington joined Britain and France in pressing for a Security Council vote Thursday on a no-fly zone to halt Kadhafi’s attacks.

Tobruk, Thursday, AFP

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