Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has blamed Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida terrorists for the anti-government protests in his country. In a Thursday speech relayed to state television by telephone, he said al-Qaida forces had given "hallucinogenic" drugs to youth in Libya to get them to incite unrest. He said people "with any brains" would not take part in the demonstrations. He urged parents to "control" their children and keep them at home.
Independent news reports, however, do not link al-Qaida to the uprising. Mr. Gadhafi also expressed his condolences for those killed in the unrest in what was his second national address since the protests erupted. And, he said he had become a "symbolic" leader who had no authority to impose rules on Libyans.
The speech came as violence continued between fighters loyal to Mr. Gadhafi and anti-government forces pushing for him to give up power.
Witnesses say the fighting Thursday took place about 200 kilometers east of the capital, Tripoli, in the city of Misrata, where anti-government forces on Wednesday claimed to have taken control of the country's third largest city.
Another clash broke out Thursday just west of the capital in the city of Zawiya. A witness told a reporter for The Associated Press that Gadhafi loyalist forces blasted the minaret of a mosque where protesters were taking refuge. http://www.wdalaw.com/trademark-registration/Patents-registrations-services-in-argentina.php Mr. Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi claimed Thursday that the number of people killed by government crackdowns on protesters has been exaggerated.
The overall death toll has been impossible to determine. Human rights groups say they have confirmed about 300 deaths. Witnesses suggest the number is far larger, and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Wednesday more than 1,000 people have likely been killed in Libya's week-long uprising.
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