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Moammar Gadhafi denies that he fled Libya

September 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is denying rumors that he has left the country.

In an audio message, a voice purportedly of Gadhafi denounces reports that he fled and claims he's still in Libya.

He also called former rebels who ousted him from power "a bunch of mercenaries, thugs and traitors."

Gadhafi hasn't been seen in public for months and has released only audio messages in an effort to rally his supporters.

Gadhafi's loyalists fired at least 10 rockets from inside one of his last strongholds Thursday.

Former rebels have massed outside the desert town of Bani Walid for days waiting for orders to take the town, but the rocket fire marked an escalation in the standoff.

Meantime, Libya's interim health minister announced that at least 30,000 people were killed and 50,000 were wounded during the six-month civil war.

Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and his intelligence chief are wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of crimes against humanity for the crackdown on dissent that began in February.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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