News / Africa

Libya: Gadhafi Survives NATO Airstirke

In this photo taken on a government organized tour, officials and members of the media inspect the ruins of a house Libya says was the site of a NATO missile attack in Tripoli, Saturday, April 30, 2011.
In this photo taken on a government organized tour, officials and members of the media inspect the ruins of a house Libya says was the site of a NATO missile attack in Tripoli, Saturday, April 30, 2011.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has survived an apparent NATO airstrike that killed one of his sons and three grandchildren.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim announced the deaths in a Saturday news conference. He said 29-year-old Saif al-Arab Gadhafi and the grandchildren were killed during what he called a direct attempt to assassinate the Libyan leader.  Ibrahim described the younger Gadhafi as a student.

Ibrahim says Mr. Gadhafi and his wife were in their son's home at the time but were not injured.  However, he said several other people at the home were hurt.

Also, reporters were taken to the site of the home, where they saw extensive damage.

There was no immediate reaction from NATO. However, as word of the apparent strike spread across Libya, celebratory gunfire was heard in the rebel stronghold, Benghazi.

Earlier Saturday, NATO rejected an offer from Mr. Gadhafi for negotiations to end the conflict in his country.

A NATO official said Saturday NATO wants to see "actions not words." He said the Libyan government has announced ceasefires several times before only to continue attacking civilians.  The official said NATO operations will continue as long as civilians in Libya are threatened.

Libyan rebels also rejected Mr. Gadhafi's call for talks saying the time for compromise has passed.  

Mr. Gadhafi said in an hour-and-a-half long televised speech on Saturday that he was ready for negotiations provided that NATO stop its attacks, but he said would not step down from power.

Libya says NATO bombed a site near the national broadcast offices while Mr. Gadhafi was inside delivering his address.  The Libyan government says the bombing shows allied forces are specifically targeting Mr. Gadhafi.

Also Saturday, NATO said it is working to clear anti-ship mines laid by pro-Gadhafi forces in the harbor of the rebel-held city of Misrata.  

NATO operations commander Brigadier Rob Weighill said the alliance intercepted several small boats laying mines on Friday.  He said the incident shows what he called Mr. Gadhafi's complete disregard for international law by trying to keep humanitarian aid from being delivered to civilians.

Several aid ships have not been able to arrive in the port because of the threat of mines.  The port is the only lifeline for the city of 300,000, which has been under siege for two months.

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