Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi on Thursday accused residents of Az-Zawiyah, a town west of the capital hit by fierce fighting between his forces and rebels, of being linked to Osama bin Laden.
In what was said to be a live audio feed on state television, Kadhafi also accused the protesters of being on drugs.
“You in Zawiyah turn to Bin Laden,” he said. “They give you drugs.” This was the embattled leader’s second television appearance since protests broke out against his 41-year-old rule on February 15.
Addressing the older generation, Kadhafi said Al-Qaeda was behind the problem’s facing Libya, while the youth were on drugs and misbehaving.
“It is obvious now that this issue is run by Al-Qaeda,” he said. “Those armed youngsters, our children, are incited by people who are wanted by America and the Western world.
“Those inciting are very few in numbers and we have to capture them. Others have to stay at home. They have guns, they feel trigger happy and they shoot especially when they are stoned with drugs.”
The “situation is different from Egypt or Tunisia … Here the authority is in your hands, the people’s hands. You can change authority any way your wish. It’s your call. You are the elderly, the head of the tribes, the professors.”
“They have been brainwashing the kids in this area and tell them to misbehave. They are the one who are under Bin Laden’s influence and authority, under the influence of drugs.”
On Tuesday, in a defiant, sometimes rambling speech on television, Kadhafi vowed to remain in Libya as head of its revolution, saying he would die as a martyr in the land of his ancestors and fight to the “last drop” of his blood.
Residents of Libya’s dissident-held east vowed on Thursday to march on Tripoli to oust the veteran leader.
State news agency Jana said three “terrorists” attacked a security forces post in Az-Zawiyah and slit the throats of three policemen on Thursday, amid reports of heavy fighting in the town.