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Gaddafi's son Saif denies reports of his arrest

(Xinhua)

17:11, August 23, 2011


Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi (portrait), is surrounded by supporters and journalists at his father's residential complex in the capital Tripoli in the early hours of August 23, 2011. Seif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and who ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo earlier said had been arrested by the rebels, claimed the insurgents had suffered "heavy casualties" when they stormed Kadhafi's Bab al-Azizya compound in Tripoli. (Xinhua/AFP)

TRIPOLI, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the well-known son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, held a news conference Tuesday at his father's Tripoli bastion of Bab al-Aziziyah, denying being arrested by the rebels.

Saif claimed that the capital is still in government's control and blamed the West for using hi-tech methods to disseminate rumors among his countrymen in a bid to create chaos and an atmosphere of fear.

He arrived in the bastion in a four-wheel-drive, to the cheers of dozens of awaiting supporters waving Libyan national flags and portraits of Saif and his father, whose whereabouts is still a myth. Saif said his father is still in Tripoli and safe, though the claim is hard to verify.

Earlier in the day, Saif made a brief visit to the Rixos hotel where dozens of foreign reporters are staying, arriving in a convoy of armored Land Cruisers, more than a day after rebels claimed they had captured him.

According to a Xinhua reporter, both the hotel and the Bab al-Aziziyah compound just across the street apparently are still under the control of Gaddafi's troops, so it is no suprise that Saif could travel between the two locations as he wishes.

Meanwhile, Libya's ambassador to the United States Ali Suleiman Aujali told CNN another son of Gaddafi, Mohammed Gaddafi, who had been captured by the rebels, has escaped.

Iraqi press quoted Gaddafi's spokesperson as saying that Mohammed was resuced by Libyan government troops and he is now in a very safe place.

There has been no immediate explanation from the Benghazi-based rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) which had announced the capture of both Saif and Mohammed.

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