gallery Where Are Gaddafi’s Children?
From the well-known Saif al-Islam to Khamis, who was in the U.S. on an internship when the uprising began, to Hannibal, once arrested on assault charges in Switzerland, see photos of the Libyan strongman’s progeny—and read about where they might be.
The Libyan interim government announced on Oct. 20 that former dictator Muammar Gaddafi died after being captured as his hometown, Sirte, fell.
His son Mutassim also was reported captured in the same raid. Three of his other children reportedly crossed the Algerian border in August: the Algerian Foreign Ministry claimed that Gaddafi's daughter Aisha, and sons Hannibal and Muhammad, all had entered the country. Meanwhile, a rebel leader told Reuters that the opposition had captured and killed Gaddafi's son, Khamis. The rest of Muammar's brood is still at large. From the well-known Saif al-Islam to former international soccer player Saadi, see photos of the late Libyan strongman’s progeny—and read about where they might be.
Gaddafi's youngest son, Khamis, reportedly was captured and killed by rebel forces in October, having stayed behind in Libya while his sister Aisha, and brothers Hannibal and Muhammad, fled to Algeria. Khamis was living in the
U.S. while on an internship when the Libyan conflict began in February, and he hurried back to Libya to assist his father. There had been two other reports of Khamis's death since he returned to Libya. In March, Arab media reported he had been killed in a so-called kamikaze crash by a Libyan pilot, but Libyan state television then showed a picture of him at a rally to prove he was still alive. At the beginning of August, rebels said he had been killed in a NATO airstrike in the embattled city of Zlitan. Libyan officials charged that Khamis's death had been reported as a way to distract attention from NATO's killing of a civilian family in Zlitan and, once again, showed footage of him to prove he was alive. Recently, some National Transitional Council officials insisted he's very much alive, and still in Libya. Time eventually will tell.
Wathek Qusai, AFP / Getty Images Aisha Gaddafi
Aisha is Gaddafi’s only biological daughter, and has been
called “North Africa’s Claudia Schiffer.” She also was a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Development Program, although she lost this position when the government crackdown began. She also was known for her charity work around the country, although she once destroyed a neighborhood health clinic in order to make room for her home. In April, she said, “Talk about Gaddafi stepping down is an insult to all Libyans because Gaddafi is not in Libya, but in the hearts of all Libyans.” The Algerian government claimed Aisha crossed the country's border with brothers Hannibal and Muhammad, though no one has confirmed the siblings' exact whereabouts. CNN reported that she gave birth in Algeria shortly after she entered the country on Aug. 29.
Mahmud Turkia, AFP / Getty Images Muhammad Gaddafi
Muhammad is Gaddafi’s eldest son. He was at one time the
head of the Libyan Olympic Committee. He also was in charge of Libya’s mobile-phone and Internet providers. Muhammad had shown no interest in ruling after his father. He was captured and placed under house arrest when rebel forces took Tripoli, but he escaped days later. A spokesman for the National Transitional Council said, “They left his own bodyguards with him and he used this privilege and escaped.” Muhammad reportealy fled Libya for Algeria with his brother Hannibal and sister Aisha.
Morten Juhl, AFP / Getty Images Hannibal Gaddafi
Hannibal Gaddafi is a notorious playboy. He
once paid Beyoncé $2 million for a private performance in St. Bart’s. Hannibal also is well known for a series of violent altercations involving his wife, Libyan model Aline Skaf. In 2005, he was arrested in Paris for beating Skaf while she was eight months pregnant. A few years later, he and his wife were both arrested for beating staff members at a hotel in Switzerland. Then in 2010, police were called to a hotel in London after staff heard a woman’s screams coming from the Gaddafi hotel suite and Skaf ended up being taken to the hospital, while Gaddafi fled the hotel, claiming diplomatic immunity. A witness said, “She was bleeding heavily from her nose and face. Her nose was clearly broken and it looked like she would need surgery.” Aline apparently has her own violent streak: A nanny who worked for Hannibal once told CNN reporters that Aline had tied her up and poured boiling water over her head when she refused to beat their children. The reporters had found her abandoned in Gaddafi's seaside compound in Tripoli and said her face was covered with burns. Hannibal reportedly has crossed the border into Algeria.
Dario Lopez-Mills / AP Photo Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi's second son, Saif al-Islam, held no official position in his father’s government, but he had long been seen as the second-most-influential member of the government. Saif, 39, played a key role in Libya and the West’s rapprochement between 2000 and the 2011 uprising—and he was known as one of Libya’s chief reformers. Saif headed up the family’s charity, and reportedly the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA)—meaning he had easy access to large amounts of money, although he denied this allegation. Saif insisted for months that his father not only would never step down, but that he would defeat the insurrection. After the elder Gaddafi was killed, and terrified that he would share the same fate, Saif went on the lam, desperate to get out of the country. He reportedly tried to make a deal with the International Criminal Court to avoid mob justice, but eventually was captured by rebel forces in November in Libya's southwestern desert. The country's National Transitional Council insists that he will be given a fair trial, in Libya.
Loufi Larbi, Reuters / Landov Saif al-Arab Gaddafi
Gaddafi’s sixth son, Saif al-Arab,
reportedly was killed in a NATO airstrike on his father’s compound on May 1, along with three of Gaddafi’s grandchildren. It was not the first time he was hit in an airstrike: he was injured by a U.S. bomb in 1986, when he was only only 4 years old. One of the most elusive of Gaddafi’s children, Saif al-Arab studied in Munich at the city’s Technical University in 2006—and was well known to police in that city. German prosecutors reportedly were investigating him for alleged ties to an arms-smuggling ring. In a separate incident in 2006, police detained him after he had a fight with a bar bouncer—a brawl that reportedly began after Saif al-Arab’s girlfriend started stripping on the dance floor.
Formerly an international soccer player, Saadi Gaddafi is known as the businessman in the family, who has made money from Hollywood movie investments. Saadi tried to exercise his business skills in
an email exchange with CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson, saying he was willing to negotiate a ceasefire with U.S. and NATO forces to save Tripoli from “a sea of blood.” The rebels’ National Transitional Council announced they had captured Saadi along with Saif al-Islam and Muhammad Gaddafi when they advanced on Tripoli in late August. But Saif subsequently refuted reports of his arrest in a press appearance a few days after the Tripoli advance, and Muhammad allegedly has fled to Algeria. Saadi was found in Niger on Sept. 11 with a convoy of other high-ranking Libyan officials. He was then sent to live in a luxury villa by Nigerien officials, along with other Libyan officials. He is wanted by Interpol, but Niger has refused to extradite him. In December 2011, Mexican officials announced that they had uncovered a plot to sneak Saadi and his family into the country to live at posh resort under false names. The Mexican interior minister announced, “The activities of the criminal organization in our country included the falsification of official documents, the opening of bank accounts with false documents and the purchase of real estate that was intended to serve as a residence for the Gaddafi family.”
Gaddafi’s fifth son, Mutassim Gaddafi, was Libya’s national security adviser, and stood by the family regime from the time protests broke out in March. Mutassim and his brother, Saif al-Islam, had been longtime rivals (Mutassim allegedly was jealous of his brother’s relationship with U.S. and British leaders). The two sparred over peace talks in April, when Saif offered to take over his father’s presidency to oversee a democratic transition of government. When Saif suggested a ceasefire,
Mutassim reportedly said, “People get sick of dying, we have to keep fighting until we’ve beaten the opposition.” Though Mutassim met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman—the highest-level diplomatic exchange between the U.S. and Libya since the two countries resumed friendly relations in 2007—he did not respond to their calls for an end to his father’s regime. Mutassim was captured and then killed during the Battle of Sirte by anti-Gaddafi forces, during the same raid in which his father was killed. Video showed Mutassim being taunted by rebels, and then showed his dead body shortly afterwards.