Kadhafi a 'legitimate target' for NATO: Libyan rebels

12th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi is a "legitimate target" for NATO forces, the head of the rebel National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, said Thursday during a visit to London.

Jalil also urged the international community to send weapons to help the rebels to fight Kadhafi's forces.

"Kadhafi is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he is the one who is encouraging everybody to fight. So we think there is justification for him to be a legitimate target," Jalil told a news conference.

He was speaking after talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street, during which Cameron invited the rebels to open an office in London, their first in a foreign country.

Jalil's comments came after NATO air strikes on Thursday hit Kadhafi's compound in the capital Tripoli, killing three people, the Libyan regime said.

The strikes came just hours after Libyan state television showed what it said was footage of Kadhafi, the first new video of him aired since an April 30 attack that killed Kadhafi's son Seif al-Arab and three of his grandchildren.

The regime has described that attack as "a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country" -- a hot issue since US forces killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan last week.

Speaking at Britain's Foreign Office, Jalil said the rebels needed more weapons, after London said it would send "non-lethal" equipment to the council including body armour for police.

"We need light weapons, which is not the equivalent of Kadhafi's heavy weapons but perhaps with courage, which Libyans have, there may be some kind of balance," he said.

"We still need some lethal weapons. The British government offered certain non-lethal equipment -- we need such equipment like night vision equipment, body armour and thank the British government for its support."

Cameron said earlier that Britain regarded the NTC as "the legitimate political interlocutor" in Libya, and Britain's "primary partner" there.

The rebel leader said opposition forces in the western port of Misrata, where they recently took the airport from Kadhafi loyalists, had recently received a shipment of weapons but did not say where from.

"The revolutionary forces in Misrata have achieved successive victories with shipments of light weapons that they were able to obtain," he said.

He said that if rebels in western cities get more weapons and manage to fight back against Kadhafi's forces, "it will have a great impact on revolutionaries within Tripoli."

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article