TRIPOLI, Libya – Supporters of Moammar Gadhafi rallied Thursday in Tripoli after the Libyan leader lashed out at NATO over civilian casualties, calling the alliance “murderers” following an airstrike on the family home of a close associate.

A few hundred supporters, most of them women, gathered in the capital’s Green Square hours after the late-night speech, vowing to defend the Libyan leader against rebels seeking to oust him and NATO forces giving them air support.

Gadhafi also warned the alliance that its more than three-month mission in Libya could come back to haunt the West.

“What you are doing will rebound against you and against the world with destruction, desolation and terrorism. You are launching a second crusader war that might extend to Africa, Europe and America,” he said in an audio address first aired on Libyan state television late Wednesday.

“Go on and attack us for two years, three years or even 10 years. But in the end, the aggressor is the one who will lose. One day we will be able to retaliate in the same way, and your houses will be legitimate targets for us,” Gadhafi added.

The defiant address was the first from the Libyan leader since NATO targeted a compound Monday owned by Khoweildi al-Hamidi, a longtime regime insider whose daughter is married to one of Gadhafi’s sons.

Libya says 19 people, including at least three children, were killed in that strike near the town of Surman, some 40 mileswest of Tripoli. NATO says the compound is a “command and control” center and says it regrets any civilian deaths.