WOODBURY - Security forces still loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi launched today a violent crackdown against anti-government protesters.

The attacks are aimed at pushing back a revolt that has moved closer to Gadhafi's stronghold in the capital city of Tripoli. Most of the eastern part of the country is said to have broken away.

The Libyan leader went on state TV today, blaming al-Qaida's leader Osama bin Laden for the uprising. He says bin Laden gave the young protesters hallucinogenic pills to get them to revolt.

Meanwhile, the ongoing unrest in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East has caused oil and gas prices to spike worldwide, with crude oil now trading at nearly $100 a barrel.

On Long Island, prices on regular unleaded gas are now averaging $3.48 a gallon, up from $2.86 a gallon this time last year.

Energy options trader Tony Rosado, of GS Global, says prices are high for three reasons: Unrest fear, the growing demand for oil and speculators. He expects gas to become even more expensive in the months to come.

Taxi driver Yanira Landaverde, of Taxi Hispano Express, says after paying for gas, she's taking home less money than ever before. Her employer, Richard Castro, says he's worried drivers are going to quit if they don't make enough money.

For an interview with energy options trader Tony Rosado, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.