Gadhafi Gov't Claims Victory 'Within 48 Hours'

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Forces loyal to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi have reclaimed nearly all of the government's territory lost to rebels this month.

Gadhafi opponents struggled to hold the strategic eastern city of Ajdabiya, Wednesday. The town is the last before Gadhafi forces reach the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Warplanes launched an attack on the area Wednesday, bombing a military airport.

The United Nations Security Council may enforce a no-fly zone over the area in an attempt to protect the rebels from Gadhafi's air force.

Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, warned that the regime was closing in on opposing forces saying, "Within 48 hours everything will be finished."

"We don't want to kill, we don't want revenge, but you, traitors, mercenaries, you have committed crimes against the Libyan people: leave, go in peace to Egypt," he said in an interview with Euronews.

Pro-Gadhafi forces reached the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Tuesday. Residents said they were sent fleeing for their lives as government warplanes were targeting fuel depots in the city.

"They don't have the arms, but they have the will to fight," Lt. Col. Mohammed Saber, an army officer who defected to the uprising, said by telephone as explosions and gunfire rattled in the background.

Although pro-democracy forces have waged a valiant effort to oust Gadhafi from power, airpower has helped the embattled leader retake much of the ground he lost early in the civil conflict.

Tuesday's attack came after pro-Gadhafi forces retook the last rebel stronghold west of Tripoli.

"There are only two possibilities: Surrender or run away," Gadhafi told the Italian newspaper Il Giornale.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned of "dire consequences" if the dictator did not honor the will of his people.

"If we had used military force last week to neutralize some airstrips and the several dozen planes that they have, perhaps the reversal taking place to the detriment of the opposition wouldn't have happened," Juppe told Europe-1 radio. "But that's the past."

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