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Gaddafi warns West of Islamist terrorism

Gaddafi forces accused of ‘massacre’ as battles rage

Libya's leader for 42 years Muammar Gaddafi said that he was embroiled in a fight against Islamist terrorism and expressed dismay at the absence of support from abroad, In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche published Sunday.

"I am surprised that nobody understands that this is a fight against terrorism," Gaddafi said.

"Our security services cooperate. We have helped you a lot these past few years. So why is it that when we are in a fight against terrorism here in Libya no one helps us in return?"

Western leaders have denounced what they call Gaddafi's brutal response to the uprising, and the International Criminal Court said he and his inner circle face investigation for alleged targeting of civilians by his security forces.

Gaddafi said Islamic holy war would engulf the Mediterranean if the insurrection in Libya, inspired by revolts that toppled despots in nearby Egypt and Tunisia, succeeded.

"There would be Islamic jihad in front of you, in the Mediterranean," he said. "(Osama) bin Laden's people would come to impose ransoms on land and sea. We will go back to the time of Red Beard, of pirates, Ottomans imposing ransoms on boats."

Gaddafi added that his government was "doing well" despite the turmoil and warned Europe against an influx of Libyan migrants to its shores if his foes drove him from power.

In comments to British newspaper The Sunday Times, Gaddafi repeated that he had no intention of going into exile.

"Does anybody leave his own homeland? Why should I leave Libya?", he said, laughing.

He also denied that his forces had bombed civilian areas.

Massacre

Gaddafi's forces were accused of a massacre during an assault on a key city as rebels pushed towards Tripoli and declared themselves Libya's sole representative on the world stage.

As battles raged east and west of Tripoli and foreigners continued fleeing, both Gaddafi and revolutionaries appealed for international recognition.

The national council -- the embryonic provisional government -- made its proclamation at a meeting in Benghazi, the opposition fighters’ stronghold in the east of the North African country.

"The council declares it is the sole representative all over Libya," former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil said.

Abdel Jalil, one of the first high-profile Libyans to defect from Gaddafi's four-decade regime when the uprising began last month, has been appointed chairman of the 30-member body.

Opponents of Gaddafi "fear he could use any evidence of Western military interference to rally patriotic support for his regime," it said.

Gaddafi also said three Dutch soldiers captured by his forces in northern Libya during an unauthorized rescue mission were being held prisoner. Meanwhile, Gaddafi's government asked the Arab League to reverse a February 22 decision suspending it from the organization’s meetings, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim said.

Gaddafi told Le Journal du Dimanche he wanted the United Nations or the African Union to probe the unrest and promised "We will let this panel work unhampered."

Opponents of Gaddafi "fear he could use any evidence of Western military interference to rally patriotic support for his regime," it said.

Gaddafi also said three Dutch soldiers captured by his forces in northern Libya during an unauthorized rescue mission were being held prisoner.