TRIPOLI, Libya — Taunting NATO, Moammar Gadhafi said Friday that he is alive despite a series of airstrikes and "in a place where you can't get to and kill me."
The defiant audio recording was broadcast after the Libyan government accused NATO of killing 11 Muslim clerics with an airstrike on the disputed eastern oil town of Brega. The alliance said it had attacked a military command-and-control center in Brega, 450 miles southeast of Tripoli.
Gadhafi had appeared on state TV but had not been heard speaking since a NATO attack on his Tripoli compound two weeks ago, which officials said killed one of his sons and three grandchildren. In a brief recording played Friday on Libyan TV, Gadhafi said he wanted to assure Libyans concerned about a strike this week on his compound in Tripoli.
"I tell the coward crusaders — I live in a place where you can't get to and kill me," he said. "I live in the hearts of millions."
He referred to a NATO airstrike on Thursday that targeted his Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, claiming it had killed "three innocent journalist-civilians."
Hours after Gadhafi's minute-long speech, the sound of four explosions — most likely a NATO strike — could be heard in Tripoli.
NATO shrugged off Gadhafi's statement.
"We are not targeting him, our targets are solely military," alliance spokeswoman Carmen Romero said in Brussels.
White House meeting: President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Tom Donilon, met at the White House with a delegation from the Libyan Transitional National Council, including top representative Mahmoud Jibril. While the United States stopped short of recognizing the rebel group as Libya's legitimate government, as France and Italy have done, the White House said in a statement that the council is a "credible interlocutor of the Libyan people."