Rebels: Khamis Qaddafi Slain in NATO Airstrik

Rebels say Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi's son Khamis was slain in a NATO airstrike in embattled Zliten.

Gabe Kahn.,

Khamis Qaddafi
Khamis Qaddafi
Wikimedia Common

Rebel fighters on Friday told reporters an overnight NATO airstrike in the western town of Zliten killed Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi's son Kahmis.

Citing spies operating in Qaddafi's ranks, Mohammed Zawawi, a spokesman for the country's rebels told AFP that Khamis was confirmed to be among the estimated 30 dead.

"Overnight there was a aircraft attack by NATO on the Qaddafi operations room in Zliten and there are around 32 Kadhafi troops killed. One of them is Khamis," said Zawawi.

Khamis was said to be commanding Qaddafi loyalists in the battle for Zliten, one of his father's strongholds that has to date halted the rebel advance on Tripoli.

Fighters from the rebel enclave of Misrata, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the east, announced this week they had made progress in Zliten, a strategic coastal town on the road to Tripoli.

The strike came just hours after Tripoli took journalists on an escorted tour of Zliten in an effort to show rebel claims the town was under attack were false.

On Thursday an AFP journalist saw the town center was in the hands of regime forces, although intensive artillery fire was heard in the distance.

Residents said the frontline is located at a distance of 10 to 15 kilometers (six to nine miles) east of the city, while rebel official said they control three neighborhoods in the town's east.

If true, Khamis' death, a long-time leader in Qaddafi's militias, could be a blow to loyalist morale in the now almost six-month long civil war that grips the nation.

The report comes just one week after top rebel commander Abdel-Fatah Younes was slain under mysterious circumstances leading to dissension in their ranks.

Rebels say they hope to emulate Mohammad's victory in the Battle of Badr during Ramadan.