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Libya's Qaddafi vows victory over Western 'fascists'

In his first public appearance since Western allies began bombing Libya, Muammar Qaddafi spoke to a small crowd from his tent in downtown Tripoli.

Libyan State TV showed on Tuesday, March 22, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi as he talks to a large crowd in Bab El Azizia, Libya.

Libyan State TV/AP

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Military forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi shelled antigovernment rebels Wednesday, deepening the confrontation over a critical front line while Mr. Qaddafi vowed that victory would ultimately be his.

So far rebels have shown little ability to take advantage of five days of American and European air and missile strikes aimed at erasing Qaddafi’s offensive capabilities.

“This assault … is by a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history,” Qaddafi proclaimed in his first public appearance since allied strikes began March 19 under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians from advancing government units.

Libyan state TV showed Qaddafi speaking for just a few minutes to a small crowd, from his tent in his downtown Tripoli compound that was struck by one cruise missile over the weekend.

“We will defeat them by any means…. We are ready for the fight, whether it will be a short of a long one … we will be victorious in the end,” Qaddafi vowed.

The air strikes put pressure on Qaddafi in Misratah, the last rebel-held western city, which government forces have encircled for days despite the UN mandate to withdraw.

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