Libyan protesters burn copies of Gaddafi's "Green Book" during in Benghazi, Libya on Wednesday AP Photo/Kevin Frayer

Gaddafi threatens 'another Vietnam' as Libyan crisis deepens

Pro-Gaddafi forces are said to have bombed rebel held targets, as the US plays down talk of a no-fly zone and Venezuela offers to mediate the crisis.

EMBATTLED LIBYAN LEADER Muammar Gaddafi has warned of ‘another Vietnam’ as reports emerge today of his military planes striking a rebel-held oil port in the eastern town of Brega.

Libya has descended into chaos and violence following an uprising of pro-democracy protesters demanding that Gaddafi step down after 41 years in power. He has so far refused to resign.

Yesterday in a fiery speech he vowed to wage a bloody war if foreign powers dare to intervene in Libya as talks of a possible no-fly zone being imposed in Libya continue within the international community.

According to ANI news agency he said:

We are ready to hand out weapons to a million, or 2 million or 3 million, and another Vietnam will begin. It doesn’t matter to us. We no longer care about anything.

The eastern town of Brega was the site of a fierce battle on Wednesday as Gaddafi loyalists tried to retake control of the strategic oil installation but armed rebels repelled the attack after hours of fighting.

In the nearby town of Ajdabiya, morgue officials said the death toll from the fighting rose to 14 on Thursday.

The witnesses could not identify the target of the Thursday airstrike, but it was likely an airstrip that belongs to the huge oil complex.

The Obama administration is tempering its tough talk on Libya with a dose of reality, explaining that even a no-fly zone over the country would require a military attack on Libya.

“A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses,” defence secretary Robert Gates said yesterday. The Pentagon made it clear that it didn’t want war.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has reportedly spoken with Gaddafi about creating a bloc of friendly countries to help mediate a resolution to Libya’s crisis.

Venezuela’s president, who has forged close ties with Gadhafi, spoke with the Libyan leader on Tuesday, Information Minister Andres Izarra said through Twitter.

Venezuela has already reached out to its allies in Latin America and beyond to discuss the creation of a friendly bloc of nations to mediate the crisis.

Venezuelan officials did not say how Gaddafi had responded to the proposal.

- additional reporting by AP

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