Libya’s rebels said Friday they have reports that Moammar Gadhafi’s youngest son, who commands one of the regime’s strongest military brigades, was killed in a NATO airstrike in the western town of Zlitan.
NATO said in a statement that it was aware of the reports that Khamis Gadhafi had been killed, but it did not confirm his death. It said alliance strikes on Thursday night hit an ammunition depot and military police facility in Zlitan, which is the main front of fighting between rebels and Gadhafi’s troops, 90 miles (140 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli.
Mohammed al-Rajali, a spokesman for the rebel leadership in the eastern stronghold of Benghazi said there were unconfirmed reports Khamis was among 32 troops killed when NATO hit a government operations center early Friday.
“We want to capture all of these criminals and try them and bring them to justice but if killing them this way will stop the bloodshed I think it is another option,” al-Rajali told The Associated Press.
Libyan government officials could also not be reached for comment.
The death of the 27-year-old Khamis Gadhafi would be a significant blow to the regime’s efforts to fight off the rebels. He commands the 32nd Brigade, also known simply as the Khamis Brigade, one of the best trained and equipped units in the Libyan military.
Khamis’ troops have been fighting rebels in and around the western town of Zlitan for months. The town is a major obstacle in the path of rebels from the nearby city of Misrata trying to make their way to the capital, Tripoli. The civil war has largely devolved into a stalemate – both at Zlitan and further east, around the oil port of Brega.
This isn’t the first time Khamis has been reported dead by rebel forces.
Not sure about this one until we see ole boy in a body bag.