27 May 1983|
Tripoli, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
|Died||29 August 2011
near Tarhuna, Libya
|Alma mater||Frunze Military Academy
General Staff Academy
IE Business School
|Allegiance||Libyan Arab Jamahiriya|
|Years of service||2003–2011|
|Commands held||Khamis Brigade|
|Battles/wars||Libyan civil war|
Khamis Gaddafi (27 May 1983 – 29 August 2011) was the seventh and youngest son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and the military commander in charge of the Khamis Brigade of the Libyan Army. He was part of his father's inner circle. During the Libyan civil war in 2011, he was a major target for opposition forces trying to overthrow his father.
- 1 Education and career
- 2 Role in the Libyan civil war
- 3 Rumors of death
- 4 References
Education and career
At age three, Khamis Gaddafi was injured in the 15 April 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya, suffering head injuries when the Bab al-Azizia military compound was attacked in retaliation for the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing. He graduated from the military academy in Tripoli, receiving a bachelor's degree in military arts and science, further graduating from the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow and the Academy of the General Staff Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In 2008, Gaddafi visited Algeria, where he was received by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
In April 2010, he began a master's degree at the IE Business School (formerly known as Instituto de Empresa), in Madrid. However, he was expelled by the institution in March 2011 for "his links to the attacks against the Libyan population".
In early 2011, Gaddafi worked as an intern at AECOM Technology Corporation. According to Paul Gennaro, AECOM's Senior Vice President for Global Communications, Gaddafi was touring the United States in February 2011 as part of his internship, including visiting military sites and landmarks. This trip was cut short on 17 February after the Libyan civil war began, and Gaddafi returned to Libya. U.S. government officials later denied any role in planning, advising or paying for the trip.
Role in the Libyan civil war
After hurrying back to Libya to aid his father in the civil war, Khamis Gaddafi commanded the assault on Zawiya, leading the Khamis Brigade, a special forces brigade of the Libyan Armed Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. The battle resulted in pro-Gaddafi forces retaking the city. He also assisted in suppressing anti-regime demonstrations in and around the capital Tripoli in late February-early March. His forces also took part in the Battle of Misrata. In June 2011, he was reported to be commanding pro-Gaddafi forces in Zliten by a soldier captured from his brigade who also reported that Khamis Gaddafi had told his troops to "take Misrata or I will kill you myself. If you don’t take Misrata, we are finished."
Rumors of death
Libyan civil war
13 March 2011: Alleged suicide attack on Bab al-Azizia
On 20 March 2011, it was reported by the anti-Gaddafi Al Manara Media that Khamis Gaddafi had died from injuries sustained when pilot Muhammad Mokhtar Osman allegedly crashed his plane into Bab al-Azizia a week earlier. This was not confirmed by any independent news source. The crashing of the plane itself had also not been previously reported or confirmed by any other independent media except Al Manara and the Algerian Shuruk newspaper, which is closely connected to Al Manara, and with it there is a possibility of the reports being part of the propaganda operations by the opposition.
The pro-Gaddafi Libyan government subsequently denied that he was killed on 21 March. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that she was aware of reports that one of Gaddafi's sons had been killed in non-coalition air strikes, after hearing them from "many different sources", but that the "evidence is not sufficient" for her to confirm this. On 25 March 2011, Al Arabiya television reported that a source had confirmed the death of Khamis Gaddafi, though others including Al Jazeera continued to call it a rumour.
On 29 March 2011, the Libyan government showed footage of what it said was live footage of Khamis Gaddafi greeting supporters in Tripoli, in an attempt to refute the claims, though it had used false live images before and these images were not verified. On 9 June 2011, a captured pro-Gaddafi soldier in Misrata told the rebels that Khamis Gaddafi was alive in Zliten, and was leading the soldiers there.
5 August 2011: Airstrike in Zliten
On 5 August 2011, citing spies operating among the ranks of forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, Mohammed Zawawi, a spokesman for the United Revolutionary Forces, told the Agence France Press news agency that Khamis Gaddafi had been killed overnight, stating that "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."
This report was officially denied by Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim. "It's false news. They invented the news about Mr. Khamis Gaddafi in Zliten to cover up their killing," Ibrahim told Reuters in Tripoli. "This is a dirty trick to cover up their crime in Zliten and the killing of the al-Marabit family." NATO was also unable to confirm the reports of Khamis's death. On 9 August, a man who appeared to be Khamis Gaddafi was on Libyan state television speaking to a woman who had allegedly been severely injured by a NATO airstrike.
22 August 2011: Reports of bodies in Tripoli
On 22 August, Al Jazeera reported that the bodies of both Khamis Gaddafi and his father's intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi may have been discovered in Tripoli during the battle for the city. However, a rebel commander later stated that he believed Khamis Gaddafi was in Bab al-Azizia.
29 August 2011: Airstrike near Tarhuna
On 29 August, it was reported that anti-Gaddafi fighters 60 km south of Tripoli claimed that a NATO Apache helicopter had fired on Khamis Gaddafi's Toyota Land Cruiser, destroying the vehicle. A man who claimed to be Khamis Gaddafi's bodyguard said he had been killed. No visual confirmation was immediately available. Several days later, The Guardian interviewed a former guard being held captive in Tarhuna. His personal guard, Abdul Salam Taher Fagri, a 17 year old from Sabha, recruited in Tripoli, later confirmed that Khamis Gaddafi was indeed killed in this attack. He told the newspaper "I was in the truck behind him ... when his car was hit. He was burned." Three other guards being held in separate cells apparently gave similar accounts, leading their captors to believe the accounts of all four to be credible. Some accounts of the attack that reportedly killed Gaddafi suggested fire from a technical, rather than a helicopter, destroyed his vehicle.
The National Transitional Council claimed on 4 September that it was now certain Khamis Gaddafi was dead and had been buried near Bani Walid. In mid-September 2011, a report stated that Gaddafi was in Bani Walid, but had left the city and his men to their fate. However, the International Business Times reported on 15 September that Khamis Gaddafi was still presumed dead. On 15 October, the Syrian-based pro-Gaddafi TV station Arrai TV posted a message mourning his death on 29 August.
After the war
At least one report published after the capture of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi asserted that the older Gaddafi told interrogators that Khamis Gaddafi was still alive and may be hiding in Tarhuna. On 25 February 2012, Stratfor reported the capture of Khamis Gaddafi by fighters from Zintan. This was denied by the NTC.
In April 2012, New York Times journalist Robert Worth met with former Tripoli Yarmouk prison captor Marwan Gdoura, who confessed that after the execution of around 100 prisoners he fled the city with some 200 loyalists under the command of Khamis Gaddafi, who was killed in gunbattle. Afterwards, he witnessed his older brother Saif al-Islam Gaddafi receiving condolences in Bani Walid.
20 October 2012: Siege of Bani Walid
For over a year, it was believed that Khamis died on August 2011. On 17 October 2012, a report from Human Rights Watch said "Khamis Gaddafi, a son of Muammar who commanded the elite 32nd "Khamis" Brigade of the Libyan military, was killed on 29 August as he fled Tripoli, in what is believed to have been a NATO airstrike on his convoy. However, just three days later, Khamis Gaddafi was allegedly killed according to the new Libyan deputy Prime Minister's tweet during fighting in the town of Bani Walid on 20 October 2012, a year to the day Gaddafi's father Muammar was captured and killed by rebel forces in Sirte. A statement from the Libyan National Congress's spokesman, Omar Hamdan, claimed Gaddafi was killed "in battle", but gave no further details. His body was allegedly found after a day of heavy fighting between the town's pro-Gaddafi garrison and militias allied to the Libyan government.
A government spokesman denied that there was any official confirmation about the capture of Mussa Ibrahim to Agence France-Presse, and did not even talk about the rumor of Khamis Gaddafi's death. The Associated Press described the report of Gaddafi's death as an unconfirmed rumor. Musa Ibrahim, the former spokesman of Muammar Gaddafi, personally disproved the message on the arrest saying he was not even in Libya and denied the most recent reports on the death of Khamis. On 24 October 2012, government spokesman Nasser Al-Manaa retracted and apologised for false reports from the government and the National Congress regarding the killing of Khamis Gaddafi and the capture of Moussa Ibrahim.
On March 7, 2014, while reporting about the capture of Khamis' older brother Al-Saadi Gaddafi, Daily Telegraph journalist Robert Spencer repeated earlier claims that Khamis was killed while trying to flee the vicinity of Tripoli in 2011.
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