Gadhafi''s son says Libya faces bloody civil war

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Tripoli, Feb 21 (AFP) Libyan leader Moamer Gadhafi''sson today warned that the country faces a bloody civil war ifprotesters refuse to accept reform offers, in a speechbroadcast as gunfire rang out in the capital.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi condemned the unprecedenteduprising against his father''s 41-year rule as a foreign plot,but admitted mistakes were made in a brutal crackdown andurged citizens to build a "new Libya".

"Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today onreforms, we will not be mourning 84 people, but thousands ofdeaths, and rivers of blood will run through Libya," he said.

Gadhafi''s son gave a lower death toll than HumanRights Watch which today said that at least 233 have beenkilled since Thursday in an unprecedented revolt clearlyinspired by the uprisings in Libya''s neighbours Egypt andTunisia.

Heavy gunfire broke out in central Tripoli and severalcity areas today for the first time since the anti-regimeuprising began in eastern Libya, witnesses and an AFPjournalist reported.

Some 500 Libyans stormed and looted a South Koreanconstruction site near the capital today, injuring about 15Bangladeshi and three South Korean workers, Seoul''s foreignministry said.

Earlier, witnesses reported clashes in Tripoli''sdowntown Green Square between protesters and Gadhafisupporters, and a witness in the working-class Gurgi area saidsecurity forces fired tear gas at protesters.

Confusion prevailed in the city after Gadhafi''s speechand unconfirmed rumours that his father had left Libyatriggered sounds of celebration, with women ululating anddrivers hooting their car horns.

The unrest has spread from the flashpoint second cityof Benghazi, where demonstrations began on Tuesday, to theMediterranean town of Misrata, just 200 kilometres fromTripoli.

"This is an opposition movement, a separatist movementwhich threatens the unity of Libya," the besuited Gadhafi saidin a fiery but rambling speech which blamed Arab and Africanelements for fomenting the troubles.

"We will take up arms... we will fight to the lastbullet," he said. "We will destroy seditious elements. Ifeverybody is armed, it is civil war, we will kill each other.

"Libya is not Egypt, it is not Tunisia," he said,adding that attempts at another "Facebook revolution" would beresisted. (AFP)

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