Embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi has compared his brutal crackdown on protesters with Israel's 2009 war on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Gaddafi, whose crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators have so far left thousands of people dead, said what is going on in Libya is the same as what Israel has done against “al-Qaeda terrorists” in the Gaza Strip.
“Even the Israelis in Gaza, when they moved into the Gaza Strip, they moved in with tanks to fight such extremists. It's the same thing here,” France 24 quoted Gaddafi as saying.
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008, killing at least 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and wounding thousands of others.
In September 2009, a UN report accused Israel of deliberate attacks against the civilian population of Gaza and of willful destruction of civilian infrastructure -- a violation of international law.
This while at the time of the onslaught Gaddafi was an outspoken critic of Israel.
“We have small armed groups who are fighting us. We did not use force from the outset… Armed units of the Libyan army have had to fight small armed al-Qaeda bands. That is what's happened,” Gaddafi said.
He once again denied reports that thousands of people have been killed in the crackdown on anti-government over the past three weeks.
“There have been at most 150 to 200 people killed. People should come here and see how many people have been killed. They can come and check among the population, and among the police and the army,” Gaddafi said.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) warned on Thursday that Gaddafi, his sons and members of their inner circle could be held responsible for crimes by their security forces.
The ICC prosecutor said that the court would open an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in Libya since February 15.