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Gadhafi Blames al-Qaeda as Violence Continues
February 24, 2011

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Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appeared on state-run television for a second time, blaming al-Qaeda for the protests against his regime and urging his supporters to continue their violent crackdown on protesters across the country.

Fighting continued across the country, as mercenaries from other countries poured into Libya to aid in Gadhafi's attacks on protesters. Much of the country, including large cities like Benghazi, is now in the hands of opposition forces. The local courthouse in Benghazi, the country's second-largest city, has turned into headquarters of the uprising, which began in the wake of similar large protests in other African nations, including Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt.

Death toll figures varied. One figure was as high as 2,000; other reports listed the dead in the hundreds.

Other world leaders continued to press Gadhafi to abandon the course of violence, and spokespeople for some countries hinted at a military response of their own. World markets reacted by increasing the price of oil to $114 a barrel. The Swiss government announced that it had frozen assets of Gadhafi and his family.

Frightened foreigners, some the victims of beatings, continued to flood Tripoli Airport in an effort to leave the country. Planes and ferries out of the country have so far not been interfered with.



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