Muammar Gadaffi blamed a revolt against his rule on al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Thursday and said that as Libyan leader he only had "moral authority".
Gaddafi, speaking by telephone to Libyan television, offered his condolences for those who were killed in the bloodshed and called for calm amongst people he said were fighting amongst themselves and taking hallucinogenic drugs. Saying bin Laden was "the real criminal", Gaddafi urged Libyans not be swayed by the al Qaeda leader.
"Bin Laden ... this is the enemy who is manipulating people," Gaddafi said, adding: "Do not be swayed by bin Laden."
"I only have moral authority," he said, who has long sought to present himself as a leader of a revolution that is led by the people, rather than a traditional executive head of state.
"No sane person" would join the protests against his rule, Gaddafi said and called on citizens to take weapons from those who were protesting.
Referring to violent clashes taking place in the town of Zawiyah, about 50 km (30 miles) from the capital Tripoli, Gaddafi said, "What is happening in Zawiyah is a farce. ... Sane men don't enter such a farce."
"Leave the country calm," he told Libyans.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 24 Şubat 2011, 17:17