Gaddafi threatens attacks on Europe
Published 01/07/2011 | 13:32
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, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court over brutally crushing an uprising, delivered the warning in an audio message played to thousands of supporters gathered in the main square of the capital Tripoli.
Gaddafi addressed the mass gathering in Green Square, speaking from an unknown location in what was probably a sign of concern over his safety.
Addressing the West, Gaddafi said Libyans might take revenge. He said: "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."
"We can decide to treat you in a similar way. 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."
The rally was one of the largest pro-government meetings in recent weeks.
It came just four days after the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi over crimes against humanity.
International prosecutors allege government troops fired on civilian protesters during anti-Gaddafi street demonstrations earlier this year.
The popular uprising has since turned into a protracted conflict, with anti-government rebels controlling much of eastern Libya and parts of Libya's western mountains. Nato has been bombing government-linked targets since March.
In his speech, Gaddafi denounced the rebels as traitors and blamed them for Libya's troubles. He said Libyans who fled to neighbouring Tunisia are now "working as maids for the Tunisians".