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The Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) is facing its first foreign confrontation after Algeria decided to permit the entry of two of Qaddafi’s sons, his second wife and his daughter. The Libyan rebels have long accused Algeria of taking Qaddafi’s side in the civil war. At the same time, the search for Qaddafi and his other sons continue, with one close associate claiming the dictator fled to the city of Sabha.
There were rumors that Qaddafi and his sons fled to Algeria as Tripoli fell to the rebels. A convoy of six armored vehicles were said to have crossed into Algeria. The Algerian government denied the account. On Monday, the Algerian government confirmed that Safia, Qaddafi’s second wife and his daughter, Aisha, were in its territory. Aisha gave birth to a girl after crossing into Algeria. Two of Qaddafi’s sons and an unknown number of grandchildren also entered the country. Mohammed Qaddafi escaped after having his house surrounded by rebel forces. Hannibal Qaddafi is best known as a playboy who was arrested in Switzerland in 2008 for assault. He was later heard saying, “If I had an atom bomb, I would wipe Switzerland off the map.”
The NTC says it considers the harboring of these Qaddafi family members an act of aggression. The United Nations passed Resolution 1970 on June 24, banning member states from facilitating the travel of Qaddafi and his family and top associates. It specifically named the four members taken in by Algeria. However, the resolution allows for an exception when it “is required to advanced peace and stability.” Algeria will use this exception to justify its decision.
Algeria steadfastly rejects speculation that Qaddafi and his sons are there. The Pentagon believes that they remain in Libya, and a top NTC official said this week, “we have a good idea where he is.” A former bodyguard for Khamis Qaddafi says that he was present at the final meeting between Khamis and his father in Tripoli on Friday. He overheard a driver say that the former dictator was headed to the city of Sabha. It is also possible that Qaddafi is in his hometown of Sirte, where 1,000 regime loyalists are refusing to surrender. The rebels have given them until Saturday to give up.
The bodyguard says he was traveling three cars behind Khamis when the convoy was attacked near Tarhuna on August 27, and he confirms that Khamis’ Toyota Land Cruiser was destroyed. The rebels claim to have killed him, while other reports say his car was struck by a missile from a NATO helicopter. Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, is also believed to have been killed. The U.S. has not confirmed their deaths yet. Another son of Qaddafi, Saadi, has contacted the NTC to negotiate his surrender.
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