Conflict & Justice

Muammar Gaddafi urges Libyans arm themselves to fight NATO

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has urged the country's people to take up arms and liberate themselves from "the traitors and NATO".

Speaking publicly for the first time since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan two weeks ago, he said there would be a quick end "for the rats" and the "colonizer" - referring to rebels and NATO forces.

"The Libyan people will remain and the Fateh revolution [which brought Gaddafi to power in 1969] will remain. Move forward, challenge, pick up your weapons, go to the fight for liberating Libya inch by inch from the traitors and from NATO," Col Gaddafi said, the U.K.'s Telegraph reports.

"Get ready for the fight ... The blood of martyrs is fuel for the battlefield."

"The end of the colonizer is close and the end of the rats is close. They (the rebels) flee from one house to another before the masses who are chasing them."

Meanwhile, rebel fighters made their most aggressive advancement on Sunday, seemingly occupying Zawiyah and cutting off Tripoli's supply route along the coast road to Tunisia, the Daily Mirror reports.

Backed by NATO airstrikes, they have been trying to take the capital Tripoli for six months in a civil war that has left thousands dead.

Gaddafi claims the rebels are al-Qaeda militants and sees the NATO bombing campaign as an act of colonial aggression aimed at stealing Libya's oil reserves.

The Mirror reports:

Rebels hoisted their flag in a key town just 30 miles from the capital yesterday in one of their most dramatic advances so far.

The rebels are said to have ­occupied Zawiyah, cutting off Tripoli’s coast road to neighboring Tunisia – used to supply food and fuel.

They now control the coast both east and west of Tripoli. To the north lies the ­Mediterranean, cut off by a NATO naval blockade, while to the south is desert.

But last night, as the rebels celebrated in a town square, fighters loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi amassed outside the town.

A NATO spokesman said: “Nothing is certain yet and there is no confirmation about who has control of Zawiyah because the situation changes every day.”