Gadhafi pledges victory over coalition

In a broadcast, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi slams the coalition of nations conducting a military operation over his country and defiantly predicts victory. .

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi slammed the coalition of nations conducting a military operation over his country and defiantly predicted victory in an address broadcast Tuesday.

"In the short term, we'll beat them," Gadhafi said. "In the long term, we'll beat them."

The appearance lasted for less than five minutes.

Libyan state TV said it was broadcast live from his residential compound in Bab Al-Aziziya, which had been hit by a missile on Sunday.

Gadhafi's forces are continuing their push to reclaim territory currently held by opposition rebels, even as Western countries enforce a UN-approved no-fly zone.

"This is a time of glory that we are living," Gadhafi said.

Heavy anti-aircraft fire in the skies over Tripoli after nightfall Tuesday appeared to signal a fourth night of air operations over the country to enforce the no-fly zone.

Several loud explosions were heard in Tripoli before dawn Wednesday, Libya time, several media organizations reported. A few bursts of anti-aircraft fire followed.

Earlier on Tuesday, a tweet from Al-Jazeera Arabic reported that Hussein Al Warfalli, one of the heads of the Gadhafi battalion, had been killed near Tripoli.

In the previous night's mission, a U.S. F-15 fighter crashed due to mechanical failure, the Pentagon said. Both crew ejected safely as the aircraft spun from the sky.

Diplomatic wrangling continues

The diplomatic debate over how to proceed with the mission over Libya also continued Tuesday. U.S. President Barack Obama said the country was likely to transfer leadership to an international coalition within days.

The United States had previously made it clear it would not continue in a leadership role, though other countries were skeptical about whether leadership responsibilities should be transferred to NATO.

Neither Turkey nor Germany is prepared to back a NATO command, the CBC's Ann MacMillan reported Tuesday.

The French had also expressed reservations about NATO taking the lead because they feel it could alienate Arab nations, but appeared to soften its position by late Tuesday.

A statement issued after French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke with Obama said the leaders "agreed on the modalities of using the structures of the NATO command to support the coalition."

Later Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all nations to support the no-fly zone.

"All the members of the United Nations have an obligation to fully co-operate so that this resolution will be implemented," he said.

Confusion continues to reign as to whether Gadhafi himself can be targeted under UN Resolution 1973.

Canadian fighters flew Tuesday

'There is no question that we all want to see Moammar Gadhafi leave,' Defence Minister Peter MacKay says. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Tuesday marked Canadian military fighters' first offensive operations since the mission began.

They had planned to attack a Libyan airfield but abandoned that after determining the risk of collateral damage was too high. The fighters returned to their base in Italy without firing their weapons. 

Canada has six CF-18s stationed in Italy. HMCS Charlottetown is also in the Mediterranean, helping enforce the arms embargo.

"NATO has announced it will begin enforcing the arms embargo. This means that NATO ships and aircraft in the central Mediterranean will conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed, to interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries that could be used by the Libyan regime," Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Tuesday.

In all, about 400 Canadian Forces' personnel are stationed in the region, 240 aboard HMCS Charlottetown.

MacKay said he hopes NATO will agree to lead the mission, but realizes that some members — such as Turkey — object to the operation.