Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Sunday his people were preparing for a long war and would defeat the Western nations which attacked his forces with air strikes overnight.

Gaddafi, in power for four decades, sounded defiant, saying repeatedly he would not be forced out of by a "crusader alliance" led by the United States, Britain and France.

RELATED:
Turkey to take part in Libya operation
Lion's Den: Back to the shores of Tripoli?

"This is a crusader war against the Muslim people, especially against the Libyan people. They believe they will terrify the Libyan people. These are only terrorist means, and only the forces on the ground will be victorious," he said.

"They will be inevitably defeated. They will not be able to make the people give in. Alll the people are now carrying weapons. We will fight you if you continue your aggression against us," Gaddafi said in a speech broadcast on Libyan television.

The television station carried only the sound of Gaddafi's voice, without pictures. "You are terrorists. You are fighting a people that hasn't invited you. Libya has become a hell in the face of enemies. This is an unjustified aggression. We will not leave our land and we will liberate it," Gaddafi said.

"We will not let America and France and Britain or allied forces enjoy our oil," he said.

"All Libyan cities will revolt and we will eliminate all traitors who cooperate with America, and the crusader alliance. We will remain alive and you will die. You will fail. We are not afraid. Our victory is inevitable.

"In defending our honor we are prepared for a long war. You will be defeated and you will withdraw."

Gaddafi's speech came as European and US forces unleashed warplanes and cruise missiles against his troops in the biggest Western military intervention in the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Libyan state television said 48 people had been killed and 150 wounded in the Western air strikes. It also said there had been a fresh wave of strikes on Tripoli early on Sunday.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger