Gaddafi’s son, three grandchildren killed in NATO air strike (Lead)

May 1st, 2011 - 10:56 am ICT by IANS  

Cairo/Tripoli, May 1 (IANS) Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his wife survived a NATO air strike at their residence in Tripoli, but the embattled leader’s youngest son Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, 29, as well as three grandchildren were killed in the attack Saturday, an official said.

The Libyan leader and his wife were present in the house when it was attacked but they are safe, Government spokesman Mossa Ibrahim said.

The air strike on Gaddafi’s house also killed several of his friends and neighbours, RIA Novosti quoted the Libyan state run agency as saying citing a statement from the government.

Ibrahim described it as an attempt to kill their leader.

In a televised speech Saturday, the Libyan leader had presented a ceasefire proposal and urged the parties concerned to follow it. He also wanted the NATO forces to stop their attacks.

Gaddafi, who has ruled the country for more than four decades, has refused to quit despite an armed revolt against his government.

Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was a postgraduate student majoring in economy and not a military person, said the state run JANA news agency.

“Late Saif al-Arab, born in 1982, was a postgraduate student majoring in economy and not a military serviceman,” the agency said adding that Muammar Gaddafi and his wife “miraculously” survived the attack.

A total of 14 of the 28 NATO countries are taking part in the operation Unified Protector in Libya, which includes air strikes, a no-fly zone and naval enforcement of an arms embargo.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya March 17, paving the way for a military operation against Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a US-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

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