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Gadhafi Vows Defiance; Oil Nears $103

Updated from Sunday, March 20

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Allied forces struck Libya for a second night and oil prices rose to about $103 a barrel as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi voiced defiance against allied attacks.

Benchmark crude for April delivery rose $1.65 to $102.72 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The intraday high was $103.35 a barrel. The contract fell 35 cents to settle at $101.07 per barrel on Friday.

Gadhafi, in a phone call to state television, said, "We promise you a long war," The Associated Press reported. The dictator has ruled Libya for 41 years.

Gadhafi also warned that Western powers wouldn't get Libya's oil, suggesting his forces may sabotage crude installations, AP reported.

A military coalition of the U.S., France, U.K. and other nations bombed tanks and anti-aircraft sites Sunday and deterred Libyan fighter jets from flying, AP reported. Gadhafi said he wouldn't resign and pledged to continue to attack the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus
A bus burns on a road leading to the outskirts of Benghazi Sunday.

However, it appears allied forces have kept anti-Gadhafi rebels from being overrun in Benghazi.

National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon told reporters traveling with President Obama in Brazil that "the efforts here have made a real difference in terms of the threat that was looming over Benghazi," The Wall Street Journal reported.

Donilon said U.S. officials and Libyan rebel leaders believe the military actions "have prevented what could have been a catastrophe at Benghazi," the Journal reported.

President Obama Saturday authorized limited military action against Libya, saying the regime of Gadhafi had left the coalition with no other choice, the AP said.

"This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought," Obama was quoted saying from Brazil, where he was meeting with with Brazilian counterpart, President Dilma Rousseff. "We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy."

Gadhafi has conducted a bloody crackdown on antigovernment rebels after the wave of protests that swept Arab nations arrived in Libya more than a month ago.

Top officials from 22 nations had gathered in Paris for an emergency meeting Saturday following Thursday's U.N. Security Council resolution ordering a cease-fire in Libya.

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