The United Nations has announced that it will be closing its offices in Tripoli in the wake of mob attacks on its buildings and other foreign missions in the Libyan capital. The violence occurred after news broke that Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s youngest son, Sayf al-Arab Gaddafi had been killed in a NATO air-strike late Saturday.
Protests boiled outside the Italian, American, and other western embassies on Saturday. The Italian foreign ministry has decried “acts of vandalism” against its offices in Tripoli. The UK has expelled the Libyan ambassador after its embassy was damaged in the attacks, which the Libyan government has been quick to blame on out-of-control mobs of Gaddafi sympathizers.
NATO maintains that its raid on Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli did not target any specific individuals, but a “command and control” building at the site. The coalition insists that all of its targets are “military in nature”.
Arab news service Al-Jazeera is expressing skepticism that Sayf al-Arab Gaddafi is in fact dead. NATO has not confirmed the killing and Al-Jazeera speculates that Colonel Gaddafi’s administration may be fabricating the story in an effort to garner sympathy.
In 1986 when Ronald Reagan directed a bombing raid on the Libyan leader’s Tripoli headquarters, Gaddafi claimed that his daughter was killed in the attack. Later investigation into the incident revealed that the girl was in fact no relation to Gaddafi, but that he had “adopted” her posthumously.