Gaddafi’s son and grandchildren killed in NATO strike

The youngest son of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi and three of the ruler’s grandchildren were killed last night in a NATO airstrike, Libyan authorities have claimed.

Libyan government spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim said Gaddafi and his wife, who were present in the building, were unharmed in the attack that claimed the life of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi.

“We think now it is clear to everyone that what is happening in Libya has nothing to do with the protection of civilians,” Ibrahim told international media.  “This is not permitted by international law. Nato does not care to test our promises, the west does not care to test our statements. Their only care is to rob us of our freedom.”

NATO and the defence ministries of countries involved in supporting Libyan regime change did not immediately comment on the attack. The UN resolution 1973 made in March does not explicitly permit or prohibit assassination of military leaders – Gaddafi is the de-facto head of the country’s armed forces – but it is mandated to use “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

Fighting for key towns and oil ports continues as Gaddafi’s forces clash with NATO-backed rebels based in the eastern city of Benghazi. On Friday aid ships were blocked from docking at the port of Misrata – the scene of some of the civil war’s most vicious fighting – while coalition warships cleared mines laid by Gaddafi’s military.

Last month the Maldives suspended diplomatic ties with the Libyan government as Western powers increased military pressure on President Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

“Following the recognition of the TNC, the suspension of diplomatic relations with the pro-Gaddafi regime is based on the continuing deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Libya, and increasingly clear evidence that the Gaddafi regime is guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes,” the Maldives Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement came after the US accused Gaddafi of using human shields and cluster bombs against his own population in Misrata.