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Libya Denies Death of Gadhafi's Son

A child walks past the rubble of a university building in Zlitan, Libya, August 4, 2011

The Libyan government is denying rebel claims that one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons has been killed in a NATO airstrike.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim called the reports "false news" designed to cover up the deaths of civilians in the western town of Zlitan.

VOA's Susan Yackee speaks about the claim with Middle East correspondent Elizabeth Arrott, who is in Cairo:

He commented on Friday after rebels said Khamis Gadhafi and more than 30 other people had been killed in an alliance airstrike on Zlitan, the site of recent clashes between pro-government and opposition fighters.

A NATO official in Italy said the alliance is looking into the report.

Khamis Gadhafi has served as one of the main commanders of his father's military forces. His death would deal a strong blow to the Libyan leader's effort to quell a months-long uprising.

Earlier this year, Gadhafi's government said a NATO airstrike killed another of his sons, Saif al-Arab.

On Thursday, the government accused NATO of bombing civilian targets in Zlitan.

NATO is operating in Libya under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians from attacks by Gadhafi's forces.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.