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Gadhafi Accuses Protesters of Bin Laden Links, Says U.S. May Use 'Qaida Alibi' to Intervene

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday accused residents of Az-Zawiyah, a town west of the capital hit by fierce fighting between his forces and rebels, of being linked to Osama bin Laden, warning that the U.S. might intervene in Libya "under the alibi of combating al-Qaida."

In what was said to be a live audio feed on state television, Gadhafi also accused the protesters of being on drugs.

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Gadhafi Faces EU Sanctions Calls over 'Bloodbath'

Europe moved Wednesday to isolate Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, with France calling for sanctions and a freeze in financial relations while Italy accused the veteran strongman of perpetrating a bloodbath.

With hundreds killed in a week of raging protests, Europe has struggled with how to exercise leverage against Gadhafi, in power for more than 41 years and whose country provides Europe with a large slice of its energy needs.

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Libyan Fighter Jet Crashes near Benghazi as Pilot Rejects to Bomb City

A fighter pilot disobeyed orders on Wednesday to bomb the opposition stronghold of Benghazi and ditched his plane after he and his co-pilot ejected, a Libyan newspaper reported on its website.

The Russian-made Sukhoi 22 crashed near Ajdabiya, 160 kilometers west of the city which has fallen to anti-regime protesters, a military source said, quoted in Quryna newspaper.

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Libyan Unrest Weighs on Stocks, Oil up Further

The turmoil in Libya heaped further pressure on stocks around the world Wednesday as investors worry that the global economic recovery may be derailed by the sharp rise in oil prices and swelling inflation.

Concerns that the country is descending into civil war were heightened by comments Tuesday from longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi that he would fight to his "last drop of blood," while urging supporters to strike back against protesters to defend his embattled regime.

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Wife of Hannibal Gadhafi Aboard Jet that Was Denied Entry in Lebanon

A private Libyan jet that was prevented from landing at Beirut airport was carrying on board the Lebanese wife of one of Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi’s sons, Voice of Lebanon radio reported Wednesday.

VDL said Hannibal Gadhafi’s wife, who is from the Skaff family, and several members of the ruling family were aboard the jet that Lebanese aviation authorities refused to give the permission to land at Rafik Hariri international airport on Tuesday.

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Arab League Bars Libya from Meetings as Security Council Holds Crisis Talks

The Arab League on Tuesday barred Libya from its meetings until Tripoli responds to the demands of protesters, threatening to suspend its membership after clashes that have killed hundreds.

The League decided to "stop the government of Libya from participating in meetings of the Arab League and all bodies affiliated to it, until the Libyan authorities respond to demands, guaranteeing the security and stability of its people," it said in a statement.

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Defiant Gadhafi Vows 'Holy March' to Crush Revolt, Slams Protesters as 'Rats'

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight on to his "last drop of blood" and roared at his supporters to take to the streets against protesters demanding his ouster, shouting and pounding his fist in a furious speech Tuesday after two nights of a bloody crackdown in the capital trying to crush the uprising that has fragmented his regime.

It was the second time Gadhafi has appeared during the week of upheaval across his country. Swathed in brown robes and a turban, he spoke on state TV from behind a podium in the entrance of his bombed-out Tripoli residence hit by U.S. airstrikes in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a monument of defiance.

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Gadhafi Appears on TV amid Security Council and Arab League Meetings

Deep rifts opened in Moammar Gadhafi's regime, with Libyan government officials at home and abroad resigning, air force pilots defecting and a bloody crackdown on protest in the capital of Tripoli, where cars and buildings were burned. Gadhafi went on state TV early Tuesday to attempt to show he was still in charge.

World leaders have expressed outrage at the "vicious forms of repression" used against the demonstrators.

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Higher Shiite Islamic Council Considers Tribunal as Null, Rejects Cabinet Cooperation with it

Lebanon’s highest Shiite religious authority has slammed the international tribunal as a political tool designed to target Hizbullah and urged Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s cabinet not to cooperate with it.

The Higher Shiite Islamic Council’s religious and executive committees said in a statement following a meeting on Monday that the council considers the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as “null and void.”

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Beirut Refuses Libyan Jet Entry in Lebanon

Lebanese aviation authorities have reportedly refused to give the permission for a private Libyan jet with 10 people on board to land at Rafik Hariri international airport.

As Safir daily said Tuesday that the plane was due to take off from Tripoli’s airport before midnight but Lebanese authorities asked Libya to unveil the identity of the 10 people before allowing the jet to land in Lebanon.

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