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Al Qaeda urges rebels to fight Gadaffi

CAIRO: Senior Al Qaeda militant Abu Yahya Al Libi has urged rebels to fight Libyan strongman Muammar Gadaffi and warned of the heavy price of defeat, in a videotape posted on jihadist websites yesterday.

In the first public comment by a top Al Qaeda commander on the conflict in Libya, he said: "The Libyan people have suffered at the hands of Gadaffi for more than 40 years ... He used the Libyans as a testing ground for his violent, rambling and disgusting thoughts."

Al Libi, himself a Libyan, warned rebels of the heavy price of defeat at the hands of Gadaffi's regime.

"Retreating will mean decades of harsher oppression and greater injustices than what you have endured," he said in the tape.

Libya yesterday rejected an Arab League resolution calling on the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya as "an unacceptable departure" from the body's charter, Libyan state television said.

Forces loyal to Gadaffi are "marching to cleanse the country" of insurgents, military spokesman Colonel Milad Hussein said yesterday.

Rebel officials said that Brega, the site of a major oil terminal, came under heavy shelling yesterday.

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