Fighting in Libya continued Wednesday, as forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi launch rockets at the rebel-controlled Tripoli International Airport.
The battle for the capital city has also intensified. Over the weekend, rebels stormed Tripoli, dispelling pro-Gadhafi forces with relative ease. By Tuesday, rebels had taken control of the Bab Al-Aziziya compound, Gadhafi's former stronghold.
But after rebels rejoiced over the seizure, Gadhafi forces fired a volley of mortars into Bab Al-Aziziya early Wednesday. Other loyalists regained control of key parts of Tripoli overnight.
About 400 people were reported killed and 2,000 injured in first three days of the Tripoli campaign.
Gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown, but the leader insists that he is his still in the country. Gadhafi spoke over the radio Wednesday, calling his retreat a tactical move, and promising either victory or martyrdom.
Moussa Ibrahim, the spokesperson for the Gadhafi regime, told Al-Urubah television that loyalist volunteers had retaken most of the capital. The full text of his address is below:
The masses of volunteers are arriving into Tripoli now.
We have arrested a leading team that was aiding the rebels, four of them Qataris and one from United Arab Emirates. We have arrested 20 militant rebels in the western district of Tripoli. They were confronted by the volunteering youth.
A clash took place in Ein Zarra, where we were able to destroy two full teams of rebels. A group of our youth were martyred. They are in their 20s. We have killed tens of the gangsters. I want to tell you exact numbers, but the information that was relayed to me indicates that 65 of them were killed this morning.
We are sorry for the Libyan bloodshed. We had hoped that this fighting takes place in Tel Aviv or Gaza and not in Libya. We are sorry that people are dying in the streets of Tripoli.
This battle is a treason by the rebels but an honor for our military forces. We are fighting the crusaders with their allies. I'd like to salute the martyrs who refused to surrender and chose martyrdom.
The vital centers in Tripoli are under our control now, such as the Central Reserve Bank. The central area is all under our control.
Our military forces withdrew under heavy bombardment by the infidel Apache helicopters. Our forces withdrew also to refuel. The rebels attacked the Algerian embassy and set it on fire.
We have turned Tripoli into a fire cannon against the colonial powers. We will turn Tripoli into a death trap. No one will enjoy Tripoli; Tripoli will turn into an exploding bomb. We will turn Tripoli into a death trap for the rebels.
The leaders of the transitional council will not enjoy it. The gangs know this. Gadhafi is loved by millions in Libya.
While few of his claims have been confirmed by the international media, rebel Commander Mukhtar Al-Akhbar said Wednesday morning that four dead rebel soldiers were found bound near the Tripoli International Airport. They appeared to have been executed.
The attention paid to an area east of the airport by pro-Gadhafi loyalists has led some to speculate that the Colonel, once called Brother Leader, is hiding out nearby. Other suggest that he is hiding near the town of this birth, and rebels are currently advancing toward Sirte, the city which has become a safe haven for Gadhafi's troops.