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WASHINGTON - Saif al-Islam Gathafi, son of the Libyan leader who is battling a rebellion, claimed "we didn't commit
1,000 killed by Gathafi forces in Misrata in 6 weeks as Gathafi's son calls on US to join regime's war on 'Al-Qaeda'.
any crime against our people," in an interview with The Washington Post reported Sunday.
The 38-year-old Saif Gathafi told the Post in an hour-long interview in Tripoli that evidence of Libyan forces firing on anti-government demonstrators is false, likening it to reports of pre-war Iraq hiding weapons of mass destruction.
"It's exactly like the WMD," he said. "WMD, WMD, WMD, go and attack Iraq. Civilians, civilians, civilians, go and attack Libya. It's the same thing."
NATO is currently enforcing a United Nations-approved no-fly zone designed to protect Libyan civilians. Western allies have called for the end of Gathafi's four-decade rule.
Saif Gathafi, speaking in fluent English, said he had brought many reformers into the Libyan government. But several of them have defected to the rebellion and have leading roles with the Transitional National Council.
He said the rebellion is besieged by Al-Qaeda, and dismissed claims by the United Nations, doctors, foreign journalists and others that civilians were targeted and killed in Misrata.
"I am not going to accept it, that the Libyan army killed civilians. This didn't happen. It will never happen."
He said the United States should help Libya fight Al-Qaeda and that after "terrorists" are removed from Misrata and the rebel stronghold of Benghazi that his father's role would be reduced under a new constitution.
"The biggest issue is the terrorists and the armed militia," he said. "Once we get rid of them, everything will be solved."
Some 1,000 people have been killed and 3,000 injured in Libya's third city Misrata since Gathafi's forces began attacking it with shells and sniper fire six weeks ago, a senior medic said.
"Some 80 percent of the deaths are civilians," said Dr Khaled Abu Falgha, administrator of the city's main hospital.
Medical staff have seen a sudden rise in the number of people brought into the hospital in the last week suffering gunshot wounds to their heads and necks -- the preferred target zone of marksmen.
Another six beds in the intensive care unit are occupied by men brought down by snipers posted around the city by forces loyal to Gathafi.
Falgha said the 60 beds in his facility were all being used and those with lesser injuries were being sent home after initial treatment.
The last week has also seen worsened injuries from cluster bombs, requiring many amputations, Abu Falgha said. He showed examples of the weapons kept in his office.
Cluster bombs, which spray deadly bomblets indiscriminantly over a large area, are banned by most countries.
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