TRIPOLI - Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi urged Libyan women to train for combat and mine their homes to avoid the same fate as women and children killed in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, Libyan Radio reported.
"Our time has known wars which have gone beyond combat zones to hit homes and other civilian targets," Khadhafi told a group of women in a speech late Tuesday in Syrte, 500 kilometers (300 miles) east of Tripoli.
"In Baghdad or in Gaza, the victims are mainly women and children," Colonel Kadhafi was quoted as saying.
"That's why women should be trained for combat, so that they do not become easy prey for their enemies," said Khadhafi, who always travels with female bodyguards.
"Women should train with all means to confront their enemies. They should also learn to mine their homes, their cars and all objectives targetted by the enemy," he added.
The Libyan authorities this year dedicated celebrations for the 34th anniversary of Kadhafi's rise to power to women, paying tribute to their growing role in public life and participation in the armed forces.
As part of festivities, a military parade composed only of women took place in Tripoli on September 1, watched by women spectators, including Kadhafi's wife Safiya as well as the wives of African heads of state.
The Africans were invited to show Libya's new policies aimed at courting African rather than Arab countries, which he has denounced as powerless to deal with the problems in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.
Kadhafi meanwhile said "the Oriental (Arab) woman is humiliated and exploited by society", and that she is "considered an object of desire or a piece of furniture."
In the West, he added, "the situation for women is hardly enviable: she has left home but only to confront a difficult fate, driving trucks and trains."
It is only in Africa, the Libyan leader added, that a woman "is free because of the society of the jungle and the hut. This is what made the African woman's character stronger than the man's."