Khamis Gaddafi
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Khamis Gaddafi: Libyan officials have denied that the 27-year-old has been killed by a kamikaze Libyan pilot at a barracks
  • Claims sixth son Khamis, leader of crack loyalist unit, died of burn wounds
  • Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown after attack on his compound
  • Dictator promises coalition forces a 'long war'
  • Rebels say Gaddafi's men have been using civilians as human shields
  • RAF Tornado turned back when it was realised residents were in danger
  • President Obama: Gaddafi is murdering his own people and must step down
  • William Hague refuses to say if Gaddafi was a target of aerial bombardments
  • US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says getting rid of Gaddafi is 'unwise'
  • UN Secretary-General clarifies support for air attacks but not ground troops
  • Cameron tells Commons air strikes stopped assault on Benghazi
Colonel Gaddafi suffered a massive personal setback today when one of his sons was allegedly killed in a suicide air mission on his barracks.

Khamis, 27, who runs the feared Khamis Brigade that has been prominent in its role of attacking rebel-held areas, is said to have died on Saturday night.

A Libyan air force pilot crashed his jet into the Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli in a kamikaze attack, Algerian TV reported following an unsubstantiated claim by an anti-Gaddafi media organisation.

Khamis is alleged to have died of burns in hospital. The regime denied the reports.

It was claimed he died in the same compound hit by RAF cruise missiles hit by coalition forces last night.

Loyalists have been photographed with shrapnel from the missile that struck the building and throughout the day there has been no information on Gaddafi's whereabouts.

Libyan state TV has claimed that 64 people were killed in the weekend attacks, causing friction between the west and the Arab world but the Ministry of Defence said it wasn't aware of civilian casualties.

But it exposed fractures between the U.S. and British positions, with U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates saying getting rid of Gaddafi would be unwise while the UK refuses to rule out any course of action.

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A rebel fighter points his gun at a suspected Gaddafi supporter as other rebels try to protect him

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A suspected Gaddafi supporter is captured by rebel fighters on a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah earlier today
As David Cameron took to the floor of the House of Commons today to justify the actions, Downing Street emphasised its legal position this afternoon saying there was "a clear and unequivocal legal basis for deployment of UK forces and military assets to achieve the resolution's objectives".

He said there were two aims to the strikes carried out against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces by an international coalition, including a Royal Navy submarine and RAF aircraft.

'The first was to suppress the Libyan air defences and make possible the safe enforcement of a no-fly zone. The second was to protect civilians from attack by the Gaddafi regime.

'Good progress has been made on both fronts.'

He added: 'Coalition forces have largely neutralised Libyan air defences and as a result a no-fly zone has effectively been put in place over Libya.

'It is also clear that coalition forces have helped to avert what could have been a bloody massacre in Benghazi. In my view they did so just in the nick of time.'

The Chief of the Defence Staff's Strategic Communications Officer Major General John Lorimer said: 'We are satisfied that our attacks and those of our partners have been highly effective in degrading the Libyan air defence and command and control capability.'

Meanwhile, Gaddafi has ordered his troops to round up civilians from nearby towns to be used as human shields towns to avoid targets being hit by allied forces, it was claimed today.

A rebel spokesman in Misrata, the only big rebel stronghold in western Libya, said that residents were being bussed there from nearby towns, but those reports could not be independently verified.

Snipers were posted on rooftops, shooting anyone that came within range while armed pro-Gaddafi forces had entered the city dressed in civilian cloths to try and mix in.

The spokesman known only as Hassan said: 'The Gaddafi forces are forcing people from Zawiyat al Mahjoub and Al Ghiran out of their houses and giving them Gaddafi's pictures and the (official Libyan) green flag to chant for Gaddafi.

'They are bringing them to Misrata so they can enter the city and control it by using the civilians as human shields because they know we are not going to shoot woman and children and old people.'

The accounts show a change in tactics from Gaddafi's forces in a bid to avoid Western airstrikes.

Libyan state TV said that 'supporters' were converging on airports to act as human shields.

Earlier this morning Foreign Secretary William Hague appearing on BBC Radio 4's Today programme refused to say if Gaddafi would or could be assassinated, insisting he would not "get drawn into details about what or whom may be targeted."

'I'm not going to speculate on the targets,' he said. 'That depends on the circumstances at the time.'

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said yesterday he would sanction a 'bunker buster' attack on the Libyan leader's lair as long as casualties could be avoided.

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A Gaddafi forces vehicle lies wrecked after being destroyed by coalition forces on the road between Benghazi and Adjibiyah on a bombing raid last night

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Anti-Gaddafi supporters delight in jumping on a truck loaded with weapons that was destroyed last night
He vowed to destroy the Libyan dictator's entire military infrastructure and senior officials privately admitted they want to engineer regime change.

The chief of defence staff, Sir David Richards, said Gaddafi was "absolutely not" a target. 'It's not allowed under the UN resolution,' he said.

Mr Fox's U.S. counterpart, Robert Gates, said it was "unwise" for foreign forces to try to kill Colonel Gaddafi. He said the allied operation should be carried out based on the norms of the UN Security Council.

'I think that it's important that we operate within the mandate of the UN Security Council resolution,' he said.

President Obama, speaking in Chile, said: 'Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Col. Gaddafi to his people.

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A supporter of Gaddafi shows pieces of shrapnel, believed to be bits of the cruise missile that destroyed an administrative building at the colonel's compound

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Surveying the damage: Libyan army soldiers stand amid the wreckage of the administration building inside Bab Al-Aziziyah, Gaddafi's heavily fortified compound in Tripoli where 300 people were reported to be at the time of the attack
'Not only was he carrying out murders of civilians but he threatened more,' the president said.

'I have also stated that it is U.S. policy that Gadhafi has to go,' he added

David Cameron told Parliament this afternoon that the role of the allied forces was to enforce the UN security resolution and it was up to the Libyans to decide what would come after the attacks. He added that there would not be a repeat of Iraq.

He said that it was clear what the resolution allowed for saying it was to impose a no-fly zone and protect civilians. He added that the UK government would abide by what UN resolution 1973 said.

Mr Cameron said that the allies, which he branded "the coaltion of the willing" have managed to neutralise Libyan air defences and prevented a bloodbath.

'We have managed to avert what could have been a bloody massacre in Benghazi and I would say that came just in the nick of time,' he said.

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Direct hit: Around 300 people were in Gaddafi's compound when a building was hit by a cruise missile and there has been no news of civilian casualties

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Human shields? People are reported to have been shipped to key locations in order to deter allied forces from attacking

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David Cameron outlining to Parliament what the UK's role would be saying we 'can't stand by as a dictator kills his own people'
The intervention has been backed by 'a very diverse coalition' according to Gates but changing the goal could complicate matters.

He added: 'If we start adding additional objectives then I think we create a problem in that respect. I also think it's unwise to set as specific goals things that you may or may not be able to achieve.

'I think this is basically going to have to be resolved by the Libyans themselves. Whether or not there is additional outside help for the rebels I think remains to be seen.'

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that a UN resolution resembled mediaeval crusades after the second wave of air strikes.

'The resolution is defective and flawed,' he said. 'It allows everything. It resembles mediaeval calls for crusades.'

According to the Times newspaper a convoy of 'Gaddafi troops' was stopped after being overrun by rebels.

The newspaper quoted one of them saying: 'See that truck, when we reached it we found the driver, one of Gaddafi's guys, still alive in the cab. He had been handcuffed to the steering wheel to stop him running away.'

Yesterday a mission involving RAF GR4 Tornados was aborted as they approached their target after a number of civilians were identified within the target area.

Cruise missiles hit Gaddafi's compound, reducing an administrative building about 150 metres away from his tents. It is not known where the dictator was at the time of the bombing and his whereabouts remained a mystery this morning.

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Tornado GR4 aircrafts taking off from RAF Marham on their way to Libya

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Bombs on their way to Libya earlier today as an RAF Tornado GR4 takes off from RAF Marham in Norfolk
Loyalists have been seen holding shrapnel from the missiles that destroyed the command centre and there are claims that the iconic fist snapping an American warplane had also toppled in the attack.

There were around 300 people in the compound at the time of the bombing but there is still a question over whether or not Gaddafi was a target.

The attack was significant because it showed that while the allies trade nuances over whether the Libyan leader's fall is a goal of their campaign, he is not safe.

The U.S. has started to downplay the role it will play in the future but said the international assault would hit any government forces attacking the opposition.

In Asia oil jumped to nearly $103 a barrel after Gaddafi defiantly vowed that there would be a "long war" last night while rebels said they expected to bring him down in a matter of days.

Air assaults over the weekend by the allied forces rained Tomahawk cruise missiles and satellite guided bombs on his air air defences, severely impacting on the leader's air defences.

British, US and French planes also hit tanks heading towards the rebel capital, Benghazi about 12 miles south of the city.

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Two pilots of a B-2 bomber flew for 25 hours on the 12,000 mile round trip to bomb Gaddafi targets

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One of three Air Force Global Strike Command B-2 Spirit bombers returning to base at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri
The arrival of foreign forces has given the rebels hope that they will soon topple the dictator and the people of Benghazi were given respite a day after heavy attacks killed at least 120 people as pro-government forces pushed east. Ezzeldin Helwani, 35, said: 'I feel like in two days max we will destroy Gaddafi.'

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William Hague: Has said he 'would not get drawn into details about what or whom may be targeted'
Mohammed al-Misrati, a rebel spokesman, said that they welcomed the foreign intervention and it would not divide the country. He said they were 'battling a gang of mercenaries.'

Last night Libyan army spokesman Colonel Milad al-Fokhyi ordered a ceasefire, but there was no letup in military activity while Gaddafi said there would be no let up on Benghazi and opened weapons stores to all Libyans saying 'We promise you a long war.'

Amr Moussar, the secretary general of the Arab League was yesterday quoted as criticising the operations for going too far. However he has since said he was misquoted and William Hague said his comments had been taken out of context.

As B-2 stealth bombers were deployed on a 25-hour round trip from Missouri to Libya to drop 45 2,000lb bombs, the future role of the U.S. in the conflict was played down.

Last night Defence Secretary Robert Gates said he expects control of the operation to be headed by Britain, France or Nato "in a matter of days".

Fears of damage to U.S. credibility and heavy domestic and international pressure pushed President Obama into military action.

Turkey was blocking Nato action, which requires agreement by all 28 members of the alliance.

Since the start of the military assault from the allied forces on Saturday there has been a decrease in the number of civilians fleeing Libya.

A spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said some Libyans who had escaped to France on Friday and Saturday returned to their country after the no-fly zone had been imposed. The number of internally displaced people, however, continues to grow.

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Libyans gather around graves for the burial of what authorities have said are victims of the attacks by Western warplanes

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A Libyan woman holds an automatic rifle as she speaks on the phone while men gather around the grave of a man being buried in Tripoli