TUNIS - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
said on Saturday he will arm civilians to defend Libya from what
he called "colonial, crusader" aggression by Western forces that
have launched air strikes against him.
"It is now necessary to open the stores and arm all the
masses with all types of weapons to defend the independence,
unity and honor of Libya," Gaddafi said in a speech broadcast
on state television hours after the strikes began.
"We call on the peoples and citizens of the Arab and Islamic
nations, Latin America, Asia and Africa to stand by the heroic
Libyan people to confront this aggression, which will only
increase the Libyan people's strength, firmness and unity," he
He also said the Mediterranean and North Africa were now a
battleground, and that the interests of countries in the region
would be in danger from now on.