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Libyan streets strewn with corpses as Gaddafi clings on

A Libyan girl kicks a poster of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, during a protest in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Monday Feb. 21, 2011.
A Libyan girl kicks a poster of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, during a protest in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Monday Feb. 21, 2011.
Demonstrators call for the ouster of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday Feb. 20, 2011. The crackdown of anti-government protests in Libya continued Sunday as, according to witnesses Libyan forces fired machine-guns at mourners marching in a funeral for anti-government protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Residents and medical personnel at Al-Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, Libya on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. Writing in arabic reads "Al-Galaa Hospital, Emergency and Paramedic section". Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (AP Photo/Alaguri)
A Libyan carries away partial remains of a man's body at Al-Jalaa hospital in Benghazi, Libya on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. Writing on placard in arabic reads "Ramzi Al-Hawat," the reason for the name is not known (AP Photo/Alaguri)
A girl sitting out of a vehicle window celebrates and displays the victory sign in Benghazi, Libya on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (AP Photo/Alaguri)
In this footage taken from amateur video, people watch papers falling from a window as a police station burns, in Tobruk, Libya, Monday Feb. 21, 2011. Libya has seen the bloodiest crackdown of any Arab country of the wave of protests sweeping the region that toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. Since the six days of unrest began, more than 200 people have been killed in Libya, according to medical officials, human rights groups and exiled dissidents. (AP Photo/Amateur Video Accessed via YouTube)
FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2009 file photo, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gestures with a green cane as he takes his seat behind bulletproof glass for a military parade in Green Square, Tripoli, Libya. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. Moammar Gadhafi's son vowed that his father and security forces would fight "until the last bullet." (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, FIle)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Protesters demonstrate outside the Libyan embassy on February 21, 2011 in London, England. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year leadership of Libya is becoming increasingly unstable following violent protests in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Reports claim several senior Libyan officials have resigned after security forces shot at Tripoli protesters. Human Rights Watch claim over 233 people have died in protests across the country since last Thursday.. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Protesters demonstrate outside the Libyan embassy on February 21, 2011 in London, England. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year leadership of Libya is becoming increasingly unstable following violent protests in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Reports claim several senior Libyan officials have resigned after security forces shot at Tripoli protesters. Human Rights Watch claim over 233 people have died in protests across the country since last Thursday.. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Protesters demonstrate outside the Libyan embassy on February 21, 2011 in London, England. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year leadership of Libya is becoming increasingly unstable following violent protests in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Reports claim several senior Libyan officials have resigned after security forces shot at Tripoli protesters. Human Rights Watch claim over 233 people have died in protests across the country since last Thursday.. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Supporters of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi gather in Hyde Park on February 17, 2011 in London, England. Libya has faced a nationwide 'Day of Anger', with Human Rights and anti-Gaddafi protesters taking to the streets. It has been reported that at least six people have been killed during clashes between Security forces and anti-Gaddafi protesters in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Supporters of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi gather in Hyde Park on February 17, 2011 in London, England. Libya has faced a nationwide 'Day of Anger', with Human Rights and anti-Gaddafi protesters taking to the streets. It has been reported that at least six people have been killed during clashes between Security forces and anti-Gaddafi protesters in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Thousands attend Friday prayers and a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday Feb. 18, 2011. Protests continued and labor unrest has increased in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak's departure last week that set off a chain reaction around the Middle East, with anti-government demonstrations reported in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, scene of protests against President Hosni Mubarak
A puppet representing former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with his name written in Arabic in its forehead, is carried by a man as he arrives to Tahrir square for Friday prayers followed by a demonstration in Cairo, Egypt, Friday Feb. 18, 2011. Protests continued and labor unrest has increased in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak's departure last week that set off a chain reaction around the Middle East, with anti-government demonstrations reported in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A Libyan girl kicks a poster of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, during a protest in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Monday Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Libyan protesters beat a poster of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi with their shoes as an insult, during a protest in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Monday Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Egyptian army soldiers stand in front of the Libyan embassy entrance, during a demonstration calling for the ouster of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Libyans stand on an army tank at the state security camp in Benghazi, Libya (AP)
Moammar Gaddafi
File photo dated 29/05/2007 of former Prime Minister Tony Blair meeting Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Sirte south of Tripoli
File photo dated 10/07/2009 of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the G8 Summit in L'Aquilla

The streets of Libya's capital Tripoli are littered with the bodies of scores of protesters shot dead by security forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, an opposition leader said today.



Mohammed Ali of the Libyan Salvation Front said Tripoli's inhabitants are hiding at home after the killings and warnings by forces loyal to Gaddafi that anyone found outside would be shot.

Mr Ali said Gaddafi's forces shot at ambulances and some protesters were left bleeding to death.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said at least 250 people have been killed and hundreds more injured.

Human Rights Watch has put the toll at at least 233 killed. The difficulty in getting information made obtaining a precise figure impossible.

The head of the UN agency, Navi Pillay, called for an investigation, saying widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population "may amount to crimes against humanity."

World leaders also have expressed outrage. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Gaddafi to "stop this unacceptable bloodshed" and said the world was watching the events "with alarm."

Mr Ali said scores of bodies had been left on the streets in the Fashloum district after the pro-Gaddafi gunmen opened fire the night before.

Gaddafi, the longest serving Arab leader, appeared briefly on TV early today to dispel rumours that he had fled. Sitting in a car in front of what appeared to be his residence and holding an umbrella out of the passenger side door, he told an interviewer that he had wanted to go to the capital's Green Square to talk to his supporters, but the rain stopped him.

"I am here to show that I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Don't believe those misleading dog stations," he said, referring to the media reports that he had left the country.

The video clip and comments lasted less than a minute - unusual for the mercurial leader, who is known for rambling speeches that often last hours.

Pro-Gaddafi militia drove through Tripoli with loudspeakers and told people not to leave their homes as security forces sought to keep the unrest that swept eastern parts of the country - leaving the second-largest city of Benghazi in protesters' control - from overwhelming the capital of two million people.

Protesters called for a demonstration in Tripoli's central Green Square and in front of Gaddafi's residence, but witnesses in various areas described a scene of intimidation: helicopters hovering above the main seaside boulevard and pro-Gaddafi gunmen firing from moving cars and even shooting at the facades of homes to terrify the population.

Youths trying to gather in the streets scattered and ran for cover amid gunfire.

Gaddafi appeared to have lost the support of at least one major tribe, several military units and his own diplomats, including Libya's ambassador in Washington, Ali Adjali. Deputy UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi accused him of committing genocide against his own people in the current crisis.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the crackdown as "a serious violation of international humanitarian law."

The chaos engulfing the country prompted many foreigners to flee.

Italy sent an air force jet to Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, to evacuate around 100 Italian citizens. Many countries had already urged their nationals to avoid non-essential travel to Libya, or recommended that those already there leave on commercial flights.

Egyptian troops, meanwhile, have strengthened their presence on the border with Libya and set up a field hospital as thousands of Egyptians return home from Libya by land.

Oil companies, including Italy's Eni, Shell and BP have also begun evacuating their expat workers or their families or both.

State TV quoted Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, as saying the military conducted airstrikes on remote areas, away from residential districts, on munitions warehouses, denying reports that warplanes attacked Tripoli and Benghazi.

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