Gaddafi says will arm civilians to defend Libya

TUNIS - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafisaid on Saturday he will arm civilians to defend Libya from whathe called "colonial, crusader" aggression by Western forces thathave launched air strikes against him.

"It is now necessary to open the stores and arm all themasses with all types of weapons to defend the independence,unity and honor of Libya," Gaddafi said in a speech broadcaston state television hours after the strikes began.

"We call on the peoples and citizens of the Arab and Islamicnations, Latin America, Asia and Africa to stand by the heroicLibyan people to confront this aggression, which will onlyincrease the Libyan people's strength, firmness and unity," hesaid.

He also said the Mediterranean and North Africa were now abattleground, and that the interests of countries in the regionwould be in danger from now on.
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