Connect to share and comment

More than 1,000 killed in Libya violence according to Italian minister (UPDATES) (VIDEO)

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told lawmakers it was "likely" more than 1,000 people had been killed in the Libya violence, as anti-government demonstrators appeared to rally for renewed protest in the capital, Tripoli.

a local doctor, said six residents had been killed and 200 injured since Feb. 18, when protesters attacked offices and buildings affiliated with Gadhafi's regime. He said residents had formed committees to protect the city, clean the streets and treat the injured.

"The solidarity among the people here is amazing, even the disabled are helping out," he said in a telephone interview.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi has ordered his security forces to sabotage oil facilities, Time magazine reported Wednesday,

According to the report, the forces were ordered to start blowing up oil pipelines in order to cut off flows to ports in the Mediterranean. "The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos," said the report.

International pressure mounts

International pressure is mounting on Gaddafi, after a chorus of international condemnation and resignations by top officials.

The U.N. Security Council demanded an end to the violence on Tuesday, while the Arab League suspended Libya.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the violence unleashed against Libyan protesters was "completely unacceptable" and that the United States will take "appropriate steps" to deal with the situation.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the European Union to adopt "swift and concrete sanctions" and to suspend ties with Libya.

The U.N. Security Council's statement in New York late on Tuesday came amid reports that foreign mercenaries have been attacking civilians and warplanes bombing protesters.

The council's 15 members said the Libyan government should "meet its responsibility to protect its population," act with restraint, and respect human rights and international humanitarian law.

The statement said the Libyan authorities should also hold accountable those people responsible for attacking civilians, and respect the rights of its citizens.

Libya's deputy permanent representative to the U.N., Ibrahim Dabbashi — who called on Monday for Gaddafi to step down — said the statement was "not strong enough."

On Wednesday, the Libyan government said former Interior Minister Abdul Fattah Younis al Abidi had been kidnapped — though al Abidi said hours earlier that he quit his post Monday after hearing that 300 unarmed civilians had been killed in Benghazi. He accused Gaddafi of planning to attack civilians on a wide scale and predicted Wednesday that protesters will achieve victory in "days or hours."

In amateur video footage that showed Abidi at his desk reading a statement, the minister announced his support for the "February 17 revolution" and called on the Libyan army to join the people and support their "legitimate demands."

In an interview with the Al Arabiya television network, he said, "I begged Gaddafi not to send planes, I called him. Now of course we don't speak, I have joined the revolution."

He added: "I gave orders to my men in Benghazi not to shoot protesters, not one of my men shot at protesters."

Others who have resigned include the Libyan ambassadors to the U.S., India and Bangladesh.

Diplomats at Libya's U.N. mission sided with the revolt against Gaddafi and called on the Libyan army to help overthrow "the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi." In a statement, the mission's deputy chief and other staff said they were serving the Libyan people, demanded "the removal of the regime immediately" and urged other Libyan embassies to follow suit.

Evacuations continue

Meanwhile, Western countries have been evacuating their citizens from Libya.

The United States, which was unable to land charter planes in Tripoli because Libyan authorities did not give permission, chartered a ferry to take travelers from central Tripoli's As-shahab port to Valletta, Malta, on Wednesday.

Planes and frigates from Turkey, France and Russia have been sent to pick up thousands of their stranded nationals.

Some passengers said the Libyan capital's airport was choked with expatriates waiting to be flown home.

Other nations also sent military and civilian planes to Tripoli or were preparing to do so in coordination with Libyan authorities. Those nations include Bulgaria, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, Russia, Serbia and Spain, according to VOA.

Two Turkish ferries arrived in the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi late Tuesday to pick up about 3,000 Turkish citizens stranded in the city.

South Asian nations also prepared evacuation plans for tens of thousands of their citizens working in Libya, many as low-paid laborers on construction sites.

A U.K. warship, HMS Cumberland, has been sent to the Libyan coast ahead of a possible evacuation.

— Freya Petersen