Libyan Interior Minister Abdel Fattah Younes al Abidi announced his defection and support for the "February 17 revolution," Al Jazeera reported Tuesday night. The channel aired amateur video footage that showed Abidi at his desk reading a statement that also called on the Libyan army to join the people and support their "legitimate demands."

In an interview with the Al Arabiya television network, Younnes said, "I begged Gaddafi not to send planes, I called him. Now of course we don't speak, I have joined the revolution," Al Jazeera reported.

"I gave orders to my men in Benghazi not to shoot protesters, not one of my men shot at protesters," he added. "I guarantee that none of my men shot at protesters."

Discussing the position of the security forces, the former interior minister said: "What I know is that the Free officers of Libya have stopped their support of Gaddafi, his Security Battalion remain," according to the report.

"Stand courageously, people of Libya," he added.

Speculating on whether Gadaffi will step down in the face of overwhelming protests, Younes said: "From my knowledge of Gaddafi, he won't leave; he will stay to the end, but he will stay alone."

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