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    "Step up Airstrikes!" Pleads Libyan Rebel Leader


    by NTDTelevision

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    Next to our coverage of the unrest in the Middle East. Muammar Gaddafi's former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, is in Italy calling on Western powers to step up air strikes in Libya. Here's more

    The head of Libya's rebel opposition, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, is urging Italy to step up military pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

    The call for more intervention comes as Western powers struggle to break a deadlock in the two-month conflict.

    Jalil, a former justice minister under Gadaffi, told reporters in Rome that the air strikes are preventing massacres on the ground.

    [Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Libyan Rebel Leader]:
    "The UN resolution is very clear about the protection of civilians and includes all the necessary measures to ensure it. Without the air strikes which began on March 19 there would have been a massacre in Benghazi. The Libyans will never forget this. What we hope our Italian friends will do is put further military pressure on Gaddafi to force him to leave the country and to give up."

    Western leaders committed to helping the rebels overthrow Gaddafi are failing to break a military stalemate in the North African country.

    And bombardment by government forces has killed hundreds of people in the besieged city of Misrata in the last few weeks.

    [Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Libyan Rebel Leader]:
    "Simply, all I can say is that all the world knows Muammar Gaddafi. Many have suffered because of his actions. He has placed all the riches of this country at his personal service. And at the service of his immoral military actions."

    Jalil added that Gaddafi is unlikely to opt for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

    [Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Libyan Rebel Leader]:
    "If he isn't forced to surrender by military means, he will never give up power by himself."