Gadhafi son Saadi called to discuss surrender, Libyan rebel says

Laura Rozen

Saadi Gadhafi, the third of Moammar Gadhafi's eight biological sons and a former Libyan national team soccer player, has been in contact with Libyan rebels to negotiate his possible surrender, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday.

According to Abdelhakim Belhaj, the Libyan rebel commander in Tripoli, "Saadi doesn't want to leave Libya, he wants to talk to the national council and negotiate his surrender," Al Jazeera's James Bays reported. Bays wrote that Belhaj "thinks he knows the whereabouts of Saadi Gaddafi from the phone call. Also says he believes some senior figures of the government are now ready to surrender, such as the former prime minister."

Belhaj is the former commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which had links with al Qaeda and the Taliban. (You can see a useful primer on the group here.)

But in his exclusive interview with Al Jazeera Wednesday, Belhaj "made a point of saying that any of those who do surrender will be treated properly, and court cases will be held to international norms," Bays reported.

Libya's rebels also claim to have gathered information that they hope will lead them to Gadhafi. "Gadhafi is now fleeing, and we have a good idea where he is," NTC minister Ali Tarhouni boasted to the network. "We don't have any doubt that we will catch him."

The hunt for Gadhafi has led rebels and reporters to remaining Gadhafi regime strongholds in the north African nation, including his hometown of Sirte earlier this week, and most recently to Bani Walid and Sabha, in southern Libya. But sometimes it seems that the rebels and Gadhafi loyalists are engaged in a cat-and-mouse game in a country that spans the Mediterranean coast on its north, and shares borders with Chad, Sudan, Mali, and Egypt to its east and Algeria and Tunisia to the west.

"Spoke to 2 guards who say the Col. [Gadhafi] was at [his son] Khamis's base in Salahedin," the Guardian's Martin Chulov reported on Twitter Wednesday. "Khamis tried to meet Mutassim in Bani Walid. Gadhafi went south."

Bani Walid "is still not secure," Chulov continued, adding that NATO had bombed the city today.

Gadhafi has eight sons and one daughter. His wife, Safia, and her three children--sons Hannibal and Mohammed, and daughter Aisha--went to Algeria, the Algerian foreign ministry said Monday. Since her arrival, Aisha, a lawyer, gave birth to a daughter.

Over the past few days, rebels have repeatedly said that they think Gadhafi's son Khamis has been killed, apparently in an air strike.

Still missing from Gadhafi's brood: his son and former heir apparent Seif al-Islam, who along with his father and Libya's former intelligence chief, is the subject of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Also at large, of course, is the elusive colonel himself.