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Gaddafi vows ‘long war’; Coalition forces pound Libya; 64 killed in US allies strike
CAIRO/TRIPOLI/NEW DElHI, MAR 20 (DPA/AGENCIES/IANS):
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Published on 21 Mar. 2011 12:43 AM IST
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Moammar Gaddafi vowed a “long war” against the international military force that struck at his forces with airstrikes and dozens of cruise missiles that shook the Libyan capital early Sunday.
At least 64 people have died in military strikes by European and US forces, a Libyan government official said Sunday. Broadcaster Al Arabiya quoted the health official as saying that the toll had increased from the 48 cited by the Libyan armed forces. An estimated 150 people have been injured in the strikes. Earlier Sunday, Al Arabiya reported that 90 people were killed, citing medical sources.
Libyan opposition forces warned that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi could resort to the use of chemical weapons against rebels in the eastern city of Benghazi, according to a report published after the first air strikes overnight.
A French fighter jet launched the first attack Saturday evening, as the west began enforcing a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone over the conflict-ridden north African country. A Libyan military vehicle on the ground was destroyed in the bombing. US and British ships later fired more than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles at more than 20 air defences by the capital Tripoli, Gaddafi’s stronghold, and the western city of Misrata. In a statement carried by state television, the Libyan army said the cities of Sirte, Benghazi, Misrata and Zuwarah were also hit.
Gaddafi vowed to defend his country against “colonial aggression” and declared he would open arms depots to “all Libyans” to defend the country’s independence. “We promise you a long war,” he said. World leaders had given Gaddafi an ultimatum Friday to enforce a ceasefire against anti-government rebels and halt attacks on civilians, or face military action that was approved by the UN Security Council Thursday and earlier backed by the Arab League.
Russia and China have issued statements opposing the air strikes. The two countries, along with Brazil, Germany and India, abstained from voting on the draft resolution Thursday while the US, France and Britain voted in favour

India, China, Russia reacts: India, China and Russia Sunday opposed the Western air strikes on Libya, with Moscow demanding a dialogue to end the “bloodshed”.
“India views with grave concern the continuing violence, strife and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya. It regrets the air strikes that are taking place,” Indian Foreign ministry statement said. Russia and China echoed similar sentiments.
“Moscow notes with regret this armed action, taken in conjunction with the hastily passed UN Security Council resolution 1973,” the Russian foreign ministry said Sunday.
The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing “as always does not agree with the use of force in international relations”. India, China and Russia were among five countries that Thursday abstained from voting on the UN resolution which authorised the use of force and the creation of a no-fly zone in Libya.
Libya says may give oil deals to China, India: Libya is considering offering oil block contracts directly to China, India and other nations it sees as friends in its month-long conflict with rebels, Libya’s top oil official said on Saturday.
Oil companies have pulled out staff and shut operations in the country, formerly Africa’s third-largest producer, due to the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule, leading to a sharp reduction in output.

 
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