Gaddafi’s son resurfaces

An explosion is seen near Moammar Gaddafi's main compound in the Bab al-Aziziya district in Tripoli, Libya, yesterday.  AP Photos

An explosion is seen near Moammar Gaddafi’s main compound in the Bab al-Aziziya district in Tripoli, Libya, yesterday. AP Photos

  • Says father’s regime still in control

Tripoli, (AP):

Moammar Gaddafi’s son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, resurfaced free and defiant early yesterday, thwarting Libyan rebel claims that he had been captured and boasting the regime still has control in Tripoli and will crush the rebellion.

Seif al-Islam’s sudden, even surreal, arrival at a Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists are staying threw the situation in the capital into confusion just a day after rebels entered the capital with surprising ease, sparking a wave of euphoria. It underlined the potential for Gaddafi, whose whereabouts remain unknown, to lash back even as his grip on power seemed to be slipping fast.

Fierce resistance

Rebels say they control most of Tripoli, but they faced pockets of fierce resistance from regime loyalists firing mortars and anti-aircraft guns. Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, who was in Tripoli, said the "danger is still there" as long as the longtime Libyan leader remains on the run.

He warned that pro-Gaddafi brigades are positioned on Tripoli’s outskirts and could "be in the middle of the city in half an hour".

The rebel leadership seemed stunned that Seif al-Islam was free. A spokesman, Sadeq al-Kabir, had no explanation and could only say, "This could be all lies".

Dramatic advance

In the meantime, the dramatic advance of Libyan rebels over Gaddafi forces offers vindication, at least for now, for President Barack Obama’s decision to refrain from using US troops on Libyan soil and to let NATO take the lead in degrading Gaddafi’s military power. But there are still hazards for the White House.

How the country moves from turmoil to stability presents a new challenge for Obama and could determine how the public views not only his foreign policy, but in some measure the economy as well.


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