Libyan Leader Vows to Defeat NATO as Airstrikes Continue

Posted June 17th, 2011 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed in an audio message aired on Libyan television Friday to defeat NATO after international coalition airstrikes pounded Libya in daylight hours.

Shouting and encouraging Libyan people to carry on, Mr. Gadhafi vowed not to quit despite calls from world leaders for him to step down.

The messages aired as Libyan state television showed what it said was live video a pro-Gadhafi rally in a Tripoli square. The video showed what appeared to be hundreds of people waving flags and chanting pro-government slogans.

Mr. Gadhafi's message came as NATO warplanes continue strikes over the capital, Tripoli. The forces appear to be targeting several parts of the capital, but it was not immediately clear what was hit or whether there are casualties.

NATO has most often struck under the cover of darkness, but day-time assaults have become more common. Friday's raids followed a barrage on Thursday night.

Forces loyal to Mr. Gadhafi pounded targets in he western rebel stronghold of Misrata. Medical authorities and rebels say the shelling on Friday had killed at least 10 people and left 40 wounded.

Meanwhile, Italy strengthened its ties with Libya's opposition on Friday. The Italian Foreign Ministry announced that the former Libyan colonial power had signed an accord with the Transitional National Council that calls for joint cooperation in resolving Libya's migration crisis.

Tens of thousands of people have fled from Libya since the political conflict began. Earlier, Italy, France and Qatar announced they would recognize the rebel council as Libya's legitimate government.

Meanwhile, the U.S. announced that it had delivered a second shipment of aid to Libyans in the rebel stronghold Benghazi. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday that the shipment included body armor, uniforms, tents and first aid kits.