Gaddafi rages at Nato after bombing

Provoked by renewed daylight Nato bombing of his capital, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi raged against the alliance, screaming his message and daring Western forces to keep it up.

Gaddafi spoke in a telephone call that was piped through loudspeakers to a few thousand people demonstrating in Tripoli's Green Square yesterday, at the end of a day when Nato intensified bombing runs across the capital.



State television carried the Gaddafi message live, then repeated it a few minutes later.



"Nato will be defeated," he yelled in a hoarse, agitated voice. "They will pull out in defeat."



The sound of automatic weapons being fired defiantly into the air echoed through the square for hours as carloads of pro-Gaddafi supporters - many with children in tow - crammed the streets leading to the plaza.



Although there was a large presence of police and soldiers in the square, many of those popping off rounds wore civilian clothes.



Protesters and foreign journalists in the capital said it was one of the biggest such demonstrations since airstrikes began.



"Everyone in Libya wants Colonel Gaddafi, not some traitors," Rajab Hamman, a 51-year-old engineer from Tripoli, said in the square as another demonstrator shot a magazine load of automatic rifle fire into the air a few steps away.



"These are the real, true Libyans," he said of the crowd.



East of Tripoli, meanwhile, Gaddafi's forces exchanged intense shelling with rebels who are slowly breaking the government siege on their western stronghold, the port city of Misrata.



Doctors at the Hikma hospital in Misrata said nine rebel fighters and a woman living near the battle were killed and 30 others were wounded. Government casualties were not known.



Barrages of artillery and Grad rockets were landing on rebel lines as they continued trying to advance out of Misrata, 125 miles east of the capital.



The heaviest shelling rained down between the towns of Dafniya and Zlitan, west of the Mediterranean port.



Rebels were holding their own with return fire from their front about 20 miles west of the port.



For weeks rebels had been bottled up in Misrata, one of a handful of toeholds they hold in western Libya.



The eastern third of the country is under rebel control from their de facto capital, Benghazi.



As Nato warplanes began stepping up attacks on Libyan government forces, bases and ammunition depots in recent days, the rebels in Misrata used the distraction to start their push out of the city toward Tripoli.



Fighting has been intense along that front, with the rebels only able to advance about 20 miles.



Nato attacked the Libyan capital at midday, pounding a target in the south of the city and sending a thick cloud of black smoke rising high into the air.



A series of explosions rumbled across other parts of the city as fighter jets could by heard flying overhead. Fire engines raced through the streets, sirens blaring.



It was not clear what was hit or whether there were casualties. Friday is the main day of rest in Libya, with many people off work.



Nato has been ramping up the pressure on Gaddafi's regime. Though most airstrikes happen under cover of darkness, daytime raids have grown more frequent.



Yesterday's raids followed a barrage that struck multiple targets late on Thursday night.



In his outburst, Gaddafi made a spitting sound and labelled as cowards the rebels fighting to oust him and those politicians and soldiers who had defected from Gaddafi's cause.



He called the rebels "sons of dogs," a particularly cutting epithet in the Arab world.



And he said the people of Benghazi, the rebel capital, were existing on money from the "donkeys of Qatar, and the donkeys of the Gulf". The rebels are receiving support from Arab nations in the Persian Gulf.



Prime minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi accused Nato of a "new level of aggression" over the past 72 hours in which he said the military alliance intentionally targeted civilian buildings, including a hotel and a university.



"It has become clear to us that Nato has moved on to deliberately hitting civilian buildings. ... This is a crime against humanity," he told reporters in the capital.



Libya's Health Ministry released new casualty figures that put the number of civilians killed in Nato airstrikes through to June 7 at 856.



There was no way to independently verify the figure and previous government-announced tolls from individual strikes have proven to be exaggerated.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on