Where's Moammar Gadhafi? As the Libyan rebels took their manhunt for the former Libyan dictator to his latest suspected hideout in the desert town of Bani Walid, a defiant Gadhafi vowed resistance in an audio interview aired Thursday by Syria-based broadcaster al-Rai.
"Let there be a long fight and let Libya be engulfed in flames," Gadhafi said in the audio message, Al Jazeera reported.
"We will not give up," he vowed. "We are not women. We will continue fighting."
Gadhafi's call to arms came as Libyan opposition leaders met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and European and Arab foreign ministers in Paris for a meeting of the international Contact Group on Libya. The Contact Group has been coordinating the international intervention in the north African nation since the imposition of a NATO-led no-fly zone in the country in March.
The UN is preparing a civilian mission to Libya to assist with preparations for elections, post-conflict humanitarian, reconstruction and state-building efforts.
Earlier Thursday, a Libyan rebel military commander in Tripoli, Abdel Majid Mlegta, told Reuters the rebels are increasingly focusing their manhunt for Gadhafi and his son Seif al-Islam on the town of Bani Walid, some 100 miles southeast of Tripoli.
"They wanted to set up an operations room there and conduct aggressive operations against us," Mlegta told Reuters. "We have talked to notables from Bani Walid to arrest him and hand him over. They haven't responded. We are assessing our position."
But the rebels are reluctant to immediately attack the town because of Libyan tribal sensitivities, he said. "We cannot attack this tribe because many of our brigades in Benghazi and Zintan are from Bani Walid," Reuters cited Mlegta. "The sons of Bani Walid hold the key to the solution."