Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi called on his supporters on Thursday to march on Tripoli and “purify” the capital of rebels, whom he denounced as “rats, crusaders and unbelievers.”
In a short audio speech broadcast on loyalist TV channels, Qaddafi called on all Libyas tribes to rally and expel what he called foreign agents from the country.
“Libya is for the Libyan people and not for the agents, not for imperialism, not for France, not for Sarkozy, not for Italy,” he said. “Tripoli is for you, not for those who rely on NATO.”
This is the third message that Qaddafi, whose whereabouts are unknown, has delivered since rebels captured his headquarters in Tripoli on Tuesday and failed to find him.
In one speech, carried by the website of a television station headed by his son Seif al-Islam, he said he had abandoned his compound in a “tactical withdrawal” after it had been wrecked by NATO warplanes.
“Bab al-Aziziya was nothing but a heap of rubble after it was the target of 64 NATO missiles and we withdrew from it for tactical reasons,” he said early Wednesday.
In a later audio message on Arrai Oruba, Qaddafi urged residents to “cleanse Tripoli of rats.”
He also said he had taken to the streets of Tripoli without being recognized.
Qaddafi has not been seen in public for weeks and his whereabouts are unknown.
The rebel National Transitional Council has offered a reward for Qaddafi’s capture and the International Criminal Court has charged him with crimes against humanity.
In a nod to a speech he made early in the uprising against his 41-year rule, Qaddafi urged Libya’s youth and tribal leaders to take control of their neighborhoods from the rebels and then march on the capital.
“Street by street, alleyway by alleyway, house by house,” said Qaddafi. “The tribes that are outside of Tripoli must march on Tripoli. Each tribe must control its area and stop the enemy setting its foot on this pure land.”
“O sheikhs of the mosques, O scholars, incite the people to jihad. Go out as their leaders.”
“The enemy is delusional, NATO is retreating. It cannot go on forever in the air. NATO be damned,” he shouted. “We will defeat them with determination, through will, commitment to freedom, sovereignty, dignity and glory. Never be afraid of them, only fear God, you are closer to God than them.”