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.

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Life and Style
Meow! ... Again, Kim Kardashian goes for a sexy Halloween costume, wrapping her body with a latex catsuit and high heeled knee boots
fashionFrom Heidi Klum to Kim Kardashian
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
Life and Style
tech

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

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker