US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has shrugged off threats by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi that he will attack Europe and reiterated her demand that he step down from power.

On Friday, Gaddafi warned that his forces would attack Europeans unless NATO ceased its air strikes and bombing raids on Libya. He made the threats during an audio broadcast before thousands of supporters in Tripoli.

These people [the Libyans] are able to one day take this battle [...] to Europe, to target your homes, offices, families, which would become legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes, he said.

If we decide to, we are able to move to Europe like locusts, like bees. We advise you to retreat before you are dealt a disaster.”

Gaddafi should put the well-being and the interests of his own people first and he should step down from power,” Clinton said in Madrid.

The NATO-led mission is on track. The pressure on Gaddafi is mounting and the rebels have been gaining strength and momentum. We need to see this through and we are in complete agreement that we will.”

Appearing next to Clinton, Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said: Spain's and the international coalition's response is to maintain the unity and determination with which we have been working these past months.

Meanwhile, France verified that it provided weapons to Libyan rebels fighting against Gaddafi near Tripoli. This action has provoked criticism from the African Union and Russia, among others.