BY BRANDON TWICHELL
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The Libyan government contends a NATO airstrike in Tripoli killed Moammar Gaddafi’s youngest son - and three of his grandchildren - while narrowly missing the leader himself. The son reportedly killed in the strike is the most unknown member of Gaddafi’s immediate family and is known more for partying than politics.
CNN reports the reaction on the ground in Libya.
“The news of Saif al-Arab’s possible death led to anti-NATO demonstrations at Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli. But people in the de-facto rebel capital Benghazi celebrated.”
The missile fired from a NATO warplane hit one of the family’s houses, and the Libyan government says Colonel Gaddafi was the target of the airstrike. NATO denies that claim. An associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute tells Al Jazeera assassinating Gaddafi would do more harm than good.
“Assassinating Gaddafi would be no guarantee of ending this war if one of his sons stepped up, and in killing him you would likely split this coalition that has been built up over so many months with such care, you would push away Arab opinion, you would push away many uncommitted members of NATO, like Turkey and Germany.”
But a writer for Business Insider doubts the family members were actually killed, pointing out that Gaddafi previously lied about a relative’s death.
“Speculation about the truth of Libya's claim goes back to 1986 when Colonel Qaddafi posthumously adopted a girl killed by U.S. airstrikes in Libya … Speculators suggest this most recent claim by Qaddafi could be an attempt to garner sympathy, and much needed support, from China and Russia."
Finally, an editorial in The Australian says if the assassination attempt it true- Gaddafi has only himself to blame.
“Loss of life in any conflict is always to be regretted, especially that of children. But the inescapable reality is that the bloodshed in Libya, wherever it is occurring, is the result of Gaddafi's murderous obduracy, and it will end only when he goes.”
Fighting in Libya has reached a stalemate in recent weeks. Gaddafi recently called for a ceasefire, but NATO rejected the truce, saying Libya has to stop attacking the rebels first.
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