News / Africa

Gadhafi Calls UN Resolution on Libya ‘Invalid’ as Battle Begins for Benghazi

This image taken from Libya State TV shows Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, March 15, 2011
This image taken from Libya State TV shows Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, March 15, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has sent urgent messages to world leaders Saturday, claiming that his country is fighting al- Qaida and that the United Nations resolution on Libya was invalid.

The messages come as fighting intensified on the outskirts of the main rebel-held city Benghazi and French President Nicholas Sarkozy confirms that French jets are now enforcing a no fly zone around Benghazi.

U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking in Brazil, said the people of Libya must be protected and he said the coalition enforcing the no fly zone in Libya is prepared to act to do that.

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi shelled targets inside the main rebel-held city of Benghazi Saturday as battles intensified in several outer suburbs. Both al Arabiya TV and al Jazeera TV, quoting eyewitnesses, said tanks loyal to Mr. Gadhafi had entered Benghazi.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech, March 19, 2011 at the Elysee Palace in Paris after a crisis summit on Libya
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech, March 19, 2011 at the Elysee Palace in Paris after a crisis summit on Libya

In Paris, western diplomats held a summit at Paris’ Elysee Palace to discuss military action in Libya. French President Nicholas Sarkozy spoke after the meeting, indicating that French, Arab and other western states had begun to enforce a no-fly zone near the rebel controlled city of Benghazi, but that Colonel Gadhafi could still comply with U.N. Security Council demands.

He says [the West] is intervening in Libya according to the U.N. Security Council mandate with Arab League approval in order to protect the Libyan people from the murderous folly of a regime that has lost all legitimacy by assassinating its own people. The Libyan people he adds must be able to chose their own destiny. He stresses that there is still time for Mr. Gadhafi to respect the demands of the international community, at which point diplomatic activity will resume.

In the Libyan capital Tripoli, government spokesman Ibrahim Moussa told reporters that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had sent urgent messages to world leaders, including President Barack Obama, calling a U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya illegal:

He says that Mr. Gadhafi wrote that the Libyan people support him and he is ready to die for his people. He claims that Libya is fighting al- Qaida’s North African branch (AQAM) and no one else. He asks Mr. Obama what he would do, if al-Qaida captured and took control of an American city? He goes on to say that the U.N. Security Council resolution is illegal and unjust, because it infringes on the U.N. charter, which forbids meddling in a country’s internal affairs. He adds that Libya is not targeting civilians and asks outside observers to come and confirm this.

In Benghazi, former interior minister Abdel Fattah Younes, now a top rebel leader told al Jazeera TV that Gadhafi tanks were "beaten back by rebel fighters using rocket-propelled grenades."

Early Saturday a warplane belonging to rebel forces was shot down over Benghazi, crashing in a ball of smoke and flames. Rebel leader Younes confirmed that pro-Gadhafi gunners downed the plane but that the pilot ejected safely.

Arab satellite TV channels showed images of civilian homes damaged by shelling inside the city. Numerous casualties were reported. Rounds of automatic rifle fire crackled into the air throughout the day, punctuated by the intermittent sounds of explosions.

Amid the fighting, hundreds of civilian vehicles were seen fleeing Benghazi towards Tobruk and the Egyptian border. Witnesses at the Egyptian border post of Salloum saw scores of Libyans, including women and children, who had entered Egypt.

Witnesses reported that pro-Gadhafi forces also attacked the rebel-held western Libyan towns of Zentan, Nalout and Misrata. Tanks and field artillery reportedly pounded all three cities.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs