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Rebels claim Gaddafi son killed

world Updated: Aug 05, 2011 17:28 IST

AFP
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Libya's rebel forces on Friday said an overnight night Nato strike on an operations centre in the western town of Zliten has killed Muammar Gaddafi's son Khamis, and more than 30 others.

Citing spies operating among Gaddafi's ranks, Mohammed Zawawi, a spokesman for revolutionary militia groups, told AFP that Khamis was confirmed to be among the dead.

"Overnight there was a aircraft attack by Nato on the Gaddafi operations room in Zliten and there are around 32 Gaddafi troops killed. One of them is Khamis," said Zawawi, a spokesman for the United Revolutionary Forces.

Khamis, who has long led pro-government militia fighters, was said to be commanding the battle for Zliten -- a Gaddafi bastion that has halted the rebel advance on Tripoli.

The strike appears to have come just hours after Tripoli took journalists on an escorted tour of the centre of Zliten, an effort to rubbish rebel claims the town was under attack.

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

The Libyan government, however, denied the claim by rebel forces that a NATO raid overnight killed Khamis.

"Basically the news about the killing of Khamis by a NATO air strike are very dirty lies to cover the murder of civilians in the peaceful city," said government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim.

On Thursday an AFP journalist saw the town centre 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 kilometres (six to nine miles) east of the city centre while rebel official said they control three neighbourhoods in the town's east.