Gaddafi threatens to strike Europe

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to carry out attacks in Europe against "homes, offices, families", unless Nato halts its campaign of airstrikes against his regime in Libya.

The Libyan leader, sought by the International Criminal Court for a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters, delivered the warning in a telephone message played to thousands of supporters gathered in the main square of the capital Tripoli.



It was one of the largest pro-government rallies in recent months, signalling that Gaddafi can still muster significant support.



A green cloth, several hundred meters long and held aloft by supporters, snaked above the crowd filling Tripoli's Green Square. Green is Libya's national colour.



A series of powerful explosions later rattled the heart of the capital, apparently new Nato airstrikes, as Gaddafi supporters cheered, honked horns and fired into the air in the street. Black smoke could be seen rising from the area near Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound.



Gaddafi spoke from an unknown location in a likely sign of concern over his safety. Addressing the West, he warned that Libyans might take revenge for Nato bombings.



"These people (the Libyans) are able to one day take this battle ... to Europe, to target your homes, offices, families, which would become legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes," he said.



"We can decide to treat you in a similar way," he said of the Europeans. "If we decide to, we are able to move to Europe like locusts, like bees. We advise you to retreat before you are dealt a disaster."



It was not immediately clear whether Gaddafi could make good on such threats.



In the past, Gaddafi supported various militant groups, including the IRA and several Palestinian factions, while Libyan agents were blamed for attacks in Europe, including a Berlin disco bombing in 1986 and the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people, mostly Americans. Libya later acknowledged responsibility for Lockerbie.



In recent years, however, Gaddafi was believed to have severed his ties with extremist groups when he moved to reconcile with Europe and the United States.



Al-Qa'ida and other jihadi groups have opposed Gaddafi since he cracked down in the late 1990s on the Islamist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which sought to replace his regime with an Islamic state.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton responded by saying "Instead of issuing threats, he should be putting the well-being and interests of his own people first. He should step down from power."

Appearing alongside Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez at a news conference in Madrid, Clinton said Gadhafi must end military operations. She insisted that NATO's mission to protect civilians was on track and that the pressure on Gaddafi to cede power was mounting.



"The rebels are gaining strength and momentum," Clinton said. "We need to see this through."



Jimenez said Gaddafi's threats wouldn't diminish Spain's resolve.



"We will continue exerting the same military and political pressure," she said, "to protect Libyan citizens from the threat and the use of military violence by Colonel Gaddafi."



Asked about the opposition by some African leaders to the international arrest warrant against Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam and Libya's intelligence chief, Clinton noted that the referral for action came in a United Nations resolution. Nigeria, Gabon and South Africa, the three African members of the Security Council, voted in favour, she noted.



A number of Africa's leaders said yesterday at an African Union conference in Equatorial Guinea that they wouldn't respect the warrant, causing some concern that Gadhafi may be able to find haven across large parts of the continent. But Clinton said the majority of African nations supported international justice in this case.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas