THE LATEST: Qaddafi just started speaking to the people of Benghazi. His forces are “coming tonight” and there “won’t be any mercy.”Anyone who surrenders now will be offered amnesty.
“Surrender your gun and stay at home. But we will search every apartment, and if we find weapons in an apartment we will see you as enemies.”
In Benghazi the people are out in large numbers, chanting defiantly.
Meanwhile the UN will vote at 6 PM on a resolution to launch airstrikes. Air attacks would begin immediately, according to Al Jazeera.
Qaddafi said thank God Libya isn’t as bad as Japan. “We will wipe out this black page of our history.”
He accuses Qatar of fueling unrest and wanting Libya to “surrender its dignity” to Qatar.
“A small problem that has become an international issue… they are voting on it tonight.”
He says the people of Benghazi are desperate for his help.
“No more fear, hesitation, we are no longer reluctant. The moment of truth has come. If you see cars with loudspeakers, destroy them, they are spreading lies.”
Qaddafi denies the rebels have shot down one of his planes.
He says he will communicate again tomorrow, and his forces will continue to the south to “liberate” the rest of Libya.
“We did not initiate this violence. They started it.”
PHOTOS: Incredible Moments From Qaddafi’s 41 Years In Power >
EARLIER: Libya has threatened to target air and sea traffic in the Mediterranean in case of any foreign military intervention against it, according to Gulf News.
The UN security council will vote this afternoon on a resolution to launch airstrikes.
Hillary Clinton said Qaddafi is likely to “cause trouble” for neighbouring countries if allowed to stay in power.
EARLIER: Earlier today Qaddafi bombed an airport just outside Benghazi, a rebel leader told Reuters. Essam Gheriani also there was a massacre in the western town of Misrata, which Qaddafi captured today, according to a translated statement.
The Libyan army says it will stop operations on Sunday to give rebels a chance to surrender, according to Al Arabiya. Still there’s no sign the offensive on Benghazi will stop — on the contrary it may be finished by then.
The Red Cross has evacuated its workers from Bengazhi, warning of genocide.
EARLIER: More details on U.S. support for an airstrike… Washington is concerned that Qaddafi may go back to supporting terrorism, according to Reuters.
Washington is finally pushing for military intervention in Libya, as a humanitarian disaster looms.
UN ambassador Susan Rice said the U.S. supports bombing Libyan tanks and heavy artillery, according to the Guardian.
Rice told reporters: “We need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond, a no-fly zone at this point, as the situation on the ground has evolved, and as a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk.”
Germany also now supports military intervention, so a vote later today is likely to pass. It had better.
Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam said yesterday it was too late for intervention: “Military operations are over. Within 48 hours everything will be finished. Our forces are almost in Benghazi. Whatever the decision, it will be too late.”
The road to Benghazi is a trail of destruction, according to the AP:
“Charred vehicles, bullet-riddled pick-up trucks and an overturned tank littered the desert highway where pro-Gaddafi forces had fought up to the entrance of Ajdabiya, a city of 140,000. An Associated Press television news cameraman counted at least three bodies by the side of the road, evidence of fierce battles. Government troops were bringing in a stream of truckloads of ammunition, rockets and supplies.”
Interestingly Qaddafi’s cousin, Ibrahim Yahia Gaddafi, was spotted in Malta contracting petrol supplies for Libya, according to Malta Today.
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