Libya bombings 'meant to scare rebels'
London - Bomb attacks on Brega harbour were intended to scare rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi into leaving Libya's oil and gas hub, his son Seif Al-Islam said late on Thursday.
"The bombs were just to frighten them to go away," Gaddafi told Britain's Sky News. "There is no city there, the city of Brega is miles away. I am talking about the harbour, only oil refinery there."
Seif Al-Islam said the regime would do all it could to prevent the harbour falling into rebel hands.
"This is the oil and gas hub of Libya," he said. "All of us, we eat, we live because of Brega. Without Brega six million people have no future because we export all of our oil from there.
"There are militia and they were filming themselves, They came with three tanks and heavy machine guns. There is a red line, you cannot control the harbour. Excuse me!
"Nobody will allow the militia to control Brega, it's like you allowing somebody to control Rotterdam harbour," he added.
Rebels managed to beat off the dawn attack in the first real military battle since the Libyan uprising began on February 15.
The strongman's son warned that further protests would not be tolerated.
Peace and order
"Everything is allowed now to arrest anyone in order to have peace and order," he said.
"It is a very critical time, everybody should be very, very careful. There's no time to risk the country, to tolerate people who want to have social unrest," he added.
According to Seif Al-Islam, the regime had been flooded with phonecalls from frightened residents in rebel-held cities.
"We receive hundreds of phonecalls every day from Benghazi and people are afraid: 'We cannot go out of our houses, our boys and girls cannot go to school, we cannot get our salaries, we cannot get to banks'," he said.
"The life is dead. Why? Because they are afraid of young boys organising a militia. The militia is not talking about freedom or democracy or election."
Seif Al-Islam defended his father's assertion that the protesters were "rats" and "cockroaches".
"These people are killing Libyans," he insisted. "Have you seen the film of those people executing the police, killing them one after another? Have you seen them hanging people on the bridges?"
But he admitted that the time had come for reform.
"The change should come," he said. "We should go towards more democracy, freedom, new constitution. We have to do it sooner or later.
"Everybody in Libya (including Muammar) believes that the one way for Libya to go forward is more democracy, freedom, local governments. But on the other hand we have the militia, so we have two different agendas."
A Venezuelan minister said earlier on Thursday that Libya and the Arab League were considering a mediation proposal by leader Hugo Chavez to find a peaceful end to the crisis.
But Seif Al-Islam dismissed the report.
"I haven't heard anything about this," he said. "It's like going to broker a deal in the Amazon.
"We respect them, they are our friends, but they are far away and they have no idea about Libya. We are able to solve our issues by ourselves."