Qaddafi's son: Airstrikes are "big mistake"

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. CBS

The son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi accused Western powers on Sunday of making a "big mistake" by carrying out airstrikes against the country.

"One day you'll wake up and you will find out that you were supporting the wrong people," Saif al-Islam Qaddafi told ABC's "This Week."

His father vowed a "long war" after the U.S. and European militaries blasted his forces with airstrikes and more than 100 cruise missiles, hitting air defenses and at least two major air bases, and shaking the Libyan capital Tripoli with explosions and anti-aircraft fire.

The strikes gave immediate, if temporary, relief to the besieged rebel capital, Benghazi the eastern part of the country.

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Saif said if the U.S. wanted to help the Libyan people, they should "liberate Benghazi from the militia and the terrorists."

"It was a big surprise that, finally, President Obama - we thought he's a good man and friend of the Arab world - is bombing Libya," Saif told "This Week" host Christiane Amanpour.

When asked whether Libya would retaliate against the strikes by attacking civilian airliners, Saif said this was not their "target."

"Our target is how to help our people in Libya, especially in Benghazi," he said.

Despite the strikes, Qaddafi's troops lashed back, bombarding the rebel-held city of Misrata with artillery and tanks on Sunday, the opposition reported.

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In the overnight barrage, ship-fired Tomahawk cruise missiles and bombs and missiles from an international arsenal of warplanes including American B-2 stealth bombers and F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers rained down on Libyan targets - including ground forces - in the widest international military effort since the Iraq war.

The air assault came as Qaddafi's overwhelming firepower was threatening to crush the month-old rebellion against his 41-year rule.

State television said 48 people were killed in the strikes, but the figures could not be independently verified.

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