Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vowed to resist the rebels with all his might until “victory or death” after rebels forced him to abandon his Tripoli stronghold in what appeared to be a decisive blow against his 42-year rule.
While the whereabouts of the embattled leader and his sons remain unknown, talking through a local Tripoli radio station, Gaddafi said that the decision to retreat from his Bab al-Aziziya compound was a strategic move that came in response to 64 NATO attacks on the site.
Speaking in an address which was reported by Al-Orouba TV, Gaddafi also vowed “death or victory” in his fight against NATO.
Gaddafi’s spokesman Moussa Ibrahim also told the satellite channels by telephone that the Libyan leader was ready to resist rebels who have entered the Libyan capital for “months, or even years,” and vowed to turn Libya into “volcanoes, lava and fire.”
Four hundred people were killed and 2 000 wounded in three days of fighting between rebels and government forces in Tripoli, said Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the rebel-led National Transitional Council (NTC).
He also said that some 600 pro-Gaddafi fighters had been captured, adding that the battle would not be over until Gaddafi himself was a prisoner.
Meanwhile, head of the Russian chess federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said the Libyan leader, along with his son Mohammed, told him via phone he was still in Tripoli and did not intend to leave the country.
Saif al-Islam, the well-known son of Gaddafi, who was said to be in the hands of the rebels, also appeared at the Rixos hotel before dozens of foreign journalists on Tuesday.