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Rediff.com  » News » Arab nations gang up against Gaddafi, slam Libya 'massacre'

Arab nations gang up against Gaddafi, slam Libya 'massacre'

March 08, 2011 18:12 IST

Armed forces on Tuesday launched fresh air raids on Libya's rebel-held eastern oil port of Ras Lanuf in a bid to prevent protestors from advancing towards Tripoli, amid mounting global calls for enforcing a no-fly zone over the country.

Muammar Gaddafi's warplanes dropped missiles near rebel positions in the desert east of Ras Lanuf, reports said, adding there were no casualties or damage.

The Libyan ruler's supporters moved eastward in an effort to push the rebels back and recapture fallen towns, with reports emerging that they have taken the central town of Bin Jawad, according to Al Jazeera.

There has also been fierce fighting in the eastern city of Misurata, located between the capital Tripoli and Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

The six US-allied Gulf Arab nations said on Monday they backed a United Nations-enforced no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians.

They also condemned the killings by pro-government forces in Libya as a 'massacre'.

Abdul Rahman Hamad al-Attiyah, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said "the massacres committed by the regime" in Libya against its own citizens amount to "crimes against humanity".

Amid an exodus of foreign workers, the United Nations and the European Union have announced that they were dispatching fact-finding missions to the north African country.

In an interview to television channel France 24, Gaddafi held the Al Qaeda responsible for plunging the country into chaos.

The Libyan leader said that his country was an important partner of the West in combating Al Qaeda and played a key role in checking sub-Saharan illegal migrants from moving into Europe.

According to UN estimates, over 1,000 people have been killed since Libya's uprising began on February 14.

More than 200,000 people have fled the country, most of them foreign workers. The exodus is creating a humanitarian crisis across the border with Tunisia.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has said that he will investigate war crimes allegedly committed by the Libyan leader and his loyalists.

American media reports said that the US military had prepared a blue-print of land, air and sea options in Libya in case Washington and its NATO allies decide to intervene there.

The options, they said, could range from arming the rebels to putting hi-tech aircraft in the international air space to jamming Libyan military communication to sending teams of special forces to lead and guide the rebels.

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