“Kamikaze pilot attack real. Khamis Gaddafi is dead of burns.”

A Point of View, Libya, Middle East & North Africa, Politics | | March 21, 2011 at 10:54

Khamis Gaddafi

There was so much back and forth in Twitter about the kamikaze pilot attack on Bab al Azizia that I edited my story a couple of times to try to keep up. I ended up calling it all “Urban Legend” and dismissed it as wishful thinking. It was the action that Twitter had been calling for and it seemed that finally someone answered. The whole story underscores the difficulty with reporting from Twitter. In most cases, you are ahead of the news cycle by 8-12 hours, sometimes by a whole day. In this case, the story of the pilot never made it to “real news.”

But as of last night, the story is this: A pilot did indeed fly a kamikaze mission into Bab al Azizia, the Gaddafi military and residential compound in Tripoli. The photo that circulated Twitter that night turned out to be a Gaddafi loyalist and not the defector kamikaze pilot. It is thought that the Gaddafi regime put the photo out there so as to be able to discredit the whole story.

The name of the pilot is also suspect. Some claim he is Mokhtar Mohammed Osman. Others claim his name is unknown.  For the time being, we’ll go with the story that a kamikaze attack happened and see what facts come to light.

As for Khamis Gaddafi, the much hated and dreaded Gaddafi son and one of seven brothers, was reported from that night to be in a Tripoli hospital in critical condition from burns suffered in the kamikaze attack and subsequent fire. The hospital was reported as surrounded by security. The international press in Tripoli was never taken to the hospital, so there was no independent corroboration of the story.

But the rumors and tweets persisted. Khamis was near death – and then dead. It seems that the story might be breaking. See dailymail.co.uk  http://bit.ly/epsupq.

NOTE: There has been no official confirmation of either kamikaze attack or Khamis death. This may have to be re-written once again.  Wouldn’t be the first time in this fast-changing Libyan world.

I had to re-write the sad story of Mohammed Mo Nabbous twice in one night. First missing, then found, then finally dead.

FYI: Khamis was head of the Khamis Brigade which carried out attacks on Zawiya and Misrata. His 32nd Brigade was known as the best equipped and trained. Khamis himself trained in a police/security academy in Russia. Maybe Khamis  provided the contacts for recruitment of mercenaries from Serbia.

But what about Saadi? He was also reported on Twitter as being admitted to the same burn ward. Have to see what Twitter says about that.

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