Commander Says All Students Get Suicide Squad Training
Jan. 21, 1986
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) _ Assembling machine guns, plotting rocket trajectories and conducting suicide missions against targets such as the White House are part of the curriculum of all Libyan high school students, the military commander of a boys' school says.
''We are ready to to carry out any order given by the leader,'' Maj. Saeed Ali Awedat said Monday, referring to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Khadafy.
''I say this not because I am an army officer, but because any Libyan would give you the same reply.''
Awedat, who trains students at Ali Awarith High School in downtown Tripoli, said both girls and boys receive two hours of military training each week and a month each summer.
He demonstrated his students' prowess for Western reporters in an illustration of the growing militarization of Libyan society under Khadafy.
The students, wearing blue berets, took less than 50 seconds to dismantle and reassemble their Soviet-designed Kalashnikov assault guns. A squad of about 60 students marched up and down in a demonstration of Soviet-style goose-stepping.
One group of students plotted the firing trajectory for four Soviet- designed, BM-21 multiple rocket launchers. The rocket launchers were unarmed; the target marked on their plotting board was Israel's Star of David.
On command, the students ran to the truck-borne launchers and went into action, simulating the firing noise by beating on the trucks with their fists.
Official calls for military readiness have become more frequent in recent weeks since President Reagan charged Khadafy with backing terrorists who attacked passengers at Rome and Vienna airports. Nineteen people died in the Dec. 27 attacks, including five Americans, two Israelis and four of the attackers.
Khadafy has said any American or Israeli retaliatory attack on Libya will prompt Libyan suicide squads to strike back inside the United States and Israel.
When asked if Libyan students train for such suicide commando missions, Awedat said, ''Yes. All Libyans are training for suicide missions. We are all ready to launch such operations, even in the United States and into the White House itself.''
He refused to discuss details of the students' suicide commando training, but said it was reserved for older groups. Most of the 2,000 students at his school ranged in age from 15 to 18, he said.
One of the students was Seifeddin Khadafy, Khadafy's 13-year-old eldest son. Seifeddin, whose name means ''sword of the faith,'' made no comment to reporters, who were not allowed to question students individually.
Awedat seemed pleased with his students. Their high precision led some of the reporters to question his claim that they received only two hours of military training per week, compared with 36 hours of non-military instruction.
He said the students were not allowed to take their guns home at night.
Asked how many military instructors were employed at the school compared with civilian teachers, Awedat said, ''That is confidential.''
In addition to training its own citizens, Libya is offering to provide military training to volunteers from throughout the Arab world, according to the state-run television and radio.
In a report monitored in London, Libyan television said Monday the Armed Forces General Command ''announces to all youths of the Arab and Islamic nation the acceptance of civilian volunteers - men and women - to join the Arab Libyan air force ... navy and ... air defense and the colleges attached to them.''
The broadcast also said ''officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers who are still serving or no longer serving'' in other Arab countries would be welcome as volunteers in the Libyan military.