* Audio remarks taunt NATO as "cowardly crusader"
* Voice of Gaddafi says NATO cannot reach him, kill him
* Italy says Gaddafi probably wounded and not in capital
* That's "nonsense", says Libyan gov't spokesman
(Recasts after brief Gaddafi remarks)
By Joseph Logan
TRIPOLI, May 13 (Reuters) - Libyan state television carried
brief audio remarks it said were by leader Muammar Gaddafi on
Friday in which he taunted NATO as a cowardly crusader and said
he was in a place they could not reach.
The comments came after Italy's foreign minister said
Gaddafi had very likely left the Libyan capital and probably
been wounded by NATO air strikes, a report that Tripoli
immediately dismissed as nonsense.
"I tell the cowardly crusader (NATO) that I live in a place
they cannot reach and where you cannot kill me .... I live in
the hearts of the millions," said the voice, which sounded like
Gaddafi's. There was no accompanying video.
He also said he was making the statement after receiving a
"massive" number of calls asking about his condition following a
NATO air strike on his compound on Thursday.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini had said earlier he
heard the report on Gaddafi from the bishop of Tripoli, Giovanni
"I tend to give credence to the comment of the bishop of
Tripoli, Monsignor Martinelli, who has been in close contact
over recent weeks, when he told us that Gaddafi is very probably
outside Tripoli and is probably also wounded. We don't know
where or how," Frattini told reporters in Italy.
NATO allies including the United States, Britain and France
are bombing Libya as part of a U.N. mandate to protect civilians
and they say they will not stop until the Libyan leader's
41-year rule ends.
Gaddafi faces a three-month-old uprising by rebels who
control Benghazi and the oil-producing east of the country.
The government accuses the insurgents of being armed
criminals and supporters of al Qaeda and says NATO air strikes
are an act of colonial aggression.
(Reporting by Souhail Karam in Rabat and Sami Aboudi in
Cairo; writing by Matthew Bigg; editing by Mark Heinrich)
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