Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military’s elite Khamis Brigade, led by Qaddafi’s youngest son Khamis Qaddafi, take positions and check vehicles after arriving hours earlier on the road in Harshan, 10km east of Zawiya, in Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Khamis leads the “Khamis Brigade,” described by Al Jazeera as the Libyan army’s best trained and equipped elite special forces unit.
In another report, rebel spokesman Mohammad al-Rajali told the Associated Press that Khamis’ death was still unconfirmed by rebel fighters on the ground, but that he had also heard similar accounts.
The missile strike took place near the front line of the fight between the rebels and Qaddafi’s forces, in the town of Ziltan, between rebel-held Misurata and the capital city of Tripoli, which is firmly in the hands of regime loyalists.
NATO confirmed the strike in a statement to CBS News, saying an ammunition storage facility and a military police compound “within a combat area” were targeted Friday morning.
“We are aware of the news reports” of Khamis Qaddafi’s death, said the statement. NATO would not confirm any casualties in the strike, reitterating official NATO policy that the alliance “does not target individuals.”
NATO said takes “all allegations about civilian casualties very seriously and we are looking into it, as we always do.”
Reuters says Khamis’ brigade was known to have been fighting in the area.
Ironically, Khamis was given a VIP tour of the U.S. Air Force Academy just eight days before the uprising against his father began in Libya.
The Air Force Academy confirmed he had visited the school in February during a U.S. tour that included businesses and other schools.
Academy spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan said Khamis Qaddafi got a standard VIP tour of the schools facilities on Feb. 7, but that he saw and learned nothing which could have helped the regime in the uprising.
U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear described the brigade as a “premier force for Colonel Qaddafi” that “we have been watching closely.”
- Libyan rebels say Ghadafi’s son Khamis may have died in NATO air strike (theglobeandmail.com)
- Gadhafi’s Son Killed by NATO Airstrike, Rebels Say (abcnews.go.com)