TRIPOLI, Libya – Provoked by renewed daylight NATO bombing of his capital, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi raged against the alliance Friday, screaming his message and daring Western forces to keep it up.

Gadhafi spoke in a telephone call that was piped through loudspeakers to a few thousand people demonstrating in Tripoli’s Green Square, at the end of a day when NATO intensified bombing runs across the capital. State television carried the Gadhafi message live, then repeated it a few minutes later.

“NATO will be defeated,” he yelled in a hoarse, agitated voice. “They will pull out in defeat.”

The sound of automatic weapons being fired defiantly into the air echoed through the square for hours as carloads of pro-Gadhafi supporters — many with children in tow — crammed the streets leading to the plaza.

Although there was a large presence of police and soldiers in the square, many of those popping off rounds wore civilian clothes.

Protesters and foreign journalists in the capital said it was one of the biggest such demonstrations since airstrikes began.

“Everyone in Libya wants Col. Gadhafi, not some traitors,” Rajab Hamman, 51, an engineer from Tripoli, said in the square as another demonstrator shot a magazine load of automatic rifle fire into the air a few steps away. “These are the real, true Libyans,” he said of the crowd.

East of Tripoli, meanwhile, Gadhafi’s forces exchanged intense shelling with rebels who are slowly breaking the government siege on their western stronghold, the port city of Misrata.

Doctors at the Hikma hospital in Misrata said nine rebel fighters and a woman living near the battle were killed and 30 others were wounded.

Barrages of artillery and Grad missiles were landing on rebel lines as they continued trying to advance out of Misrata, 125 miles east of the capital. Rebels were holding their own with return fire from their front about 20 miles west of the port.

For weeks rebels had been bottled up in Misrata, one of a handful of toeholds they hold in western Libya.

The eastern third of the country is under rebel control from their de facto capital, Benghazi.