TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — This was a side of Moammar Gadhafi only available behind closed doors: Kneeling on a prayer mat in a white track suit and clowning around with two young boys, presumably his grandsons.
The 32-second video, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, was found on a laptop in the home of Gadhafi's son Hannibal. The images of Gadhafi as a loving grandfather are in sharp contrast to the brutality of his 42-year regime, including the crackdown on opponents during Libya's six-month civil war.
It is not clear when the video was shot.
But the ousted dictator's face looks wrinkled and bloated, similar to his appearances on Libyan state TV several months ago. As he kneels forward, Gadhafi, now 69, reveals a bald spot at the back of his head. His curly mop of dyed black hair has earned him the mocking nickname "frizzhead," or "shafshufa" in Arabic.
The video was shot in what appears to be a roomy tent with a green carpet. Gadhafi sits on his haunches on a prayer mat and goes through the motions of Muslim prayer, at one point playfully covering his face with his hands. He is flanked by two boys, ages about 3 and 5. A few seconds into the video, all three lean forward, their foreheads touching the ground.
When the boys sit up again, each gives a military salute. Gadhafi leans forward and kisses each of them on the cheek.
Others are in the tent, commenting on the scene, and the flash of a camera goes off repeatedly. One of those watching laughs as the boys' salute. The back of a blond woman's head briefly moves into the frame.
Gadhafi has been a fugitive since the capital of Tripoli fell to rebel fighters in late August, but he continues to exhort his followers from hiding to keep fighting. On Monday, a message attributed to Gadhafi was read on Syria's Al-Rai TV and urged his backers to battle "traitors."
Two weeks ago, several members of the Gadhafi family were given asylum in Algeria. They included Hannibal and his children, along with Gadhafi's wife Safiya, son Mohammed and daughter, Aisha who gave birth on the Algerian border.
Hannibal gained notoriety and a diplomatic tiff in 2008 after he and his wife were arrested for allegedly beating their servants in a Geneva luxury hotel. According to diplomatic cables released earlier this year by the secret-spilling web site WikiLeaks, Hannibal also beat his wife Aline.