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WASHINGTON--The Reagan Administration--asserting "we're not trying to assassinate" Moammar Khadafy--said yesterday that the American raid on Libya could have been avoided if the Soviet Union had heeded requests to "restrain the Libyans" from anti-American terrorism.
U.S. officials were assessing intelligence concerning the condition and whereabouts of Khadafy, who appeared on Libyan television and dispelled speculation that he had been killed in the Monday night raids.
Confronted with diplomatic criticism of the raids, the administration said that if the Soviets had acted on its pleas, authorities might have been able to foil the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque, which killed an American serviceman and a Turkish woman and wounded some 200 others.
State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb said the Soviets also were warned that supplying SA-5 missiles might encourage Khadafy to "take risks which would force us to respond. This in fact turned out to be the case."
In his broadcast, Khadafy condemned the United States and Britain for the bombing attack. "We are ready to die, and we are ready to carry on fighting and defending our country," he said.
There was no immediate indication whether Khadafy's broadcast was being carried live or had been prerecorded. Moreover, it could not be learned where Khadafy made the broadcast, and speculation continued that he was no longer in Tripoli.
Questions also were raised by reports of street fighting in Tripoli near Khadafy's headquarters. White House Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes said he had no information about whether a coup was attempted, and Libyan officials in Tripoli insisted that the firings were aimed at a U.S. reconnaissance plane.
A congressional source said U.S. officials thought the gunfire indicated that Khadafy foes were "back in town," but added, "They really don't know who's in control of what" in Libya.
Meanwhile, following the shooting of a U.S. embassy employee in Khartoum, Sudan, the State Department yesterdaysaid it planned to withdraw large numbers ofAmericans, mostly dependents of diplomats, fromthat country. It acted out of concern over theshooting and an influx of Libyans into Sudan.
Because of what a State Department officialcalled a "fluid situation" in Khartoum, officialsmade also plans for a reduction in the size of theofficial American community in the city.
The official, speaking on condition ofanonymity, said there were concerns about thesecurity of American women and children in thecity and a general belief that they should leavethe country. He said it was a situation of "takingregular flights out" not a question of militaryevacuation.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Caspar W.Weinberger '38 said that damage to the FrenchEmbassy and nearby residences in Tripoli may havebeen caused by a bomb from an Air Force F-111 thatfailed to return from the attacks on two Libyancities.
Admiral William Crowe, chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff, said the search for the twomissing crewmen had been called off after Navyplanes and ships failed to find any trace of themor their plane.
"It could have come from the plane that ismissing," Weinberger said in Boston, where he wentto deliver two speeches (see story page 1)."We just don't have any idea. The simple correctanswer is, we don't know how that [damage]occurred.
"But it's a mile away from any of the targetareas, and it was specifically rejected as atarget even though there's a large intelligencebuilding right next to the French embassy."
Pentagon sources said officials areinvestigating the possibility that the F-111bomber dropped a bomb off-target after being hitby anti-aircraft fire.
The sources, speaking on condition they not beidentified, also disclosed that Air Force and Navybombers dropped 100 tons of high-explosive bombsin the raids on two Libyan cities
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