- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Libyan state television broadcast images Wednesday of a man it said was Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s youngest son in an attempt to refute rebel claims that he had been killed in a NATO airstrike.

Rebels claimed on Friday that 27-year-old Khamis Gadhafi, who commands one of the best-trained and -equipped units in the Libyan military, was killed in the western front-line town of Zlitan. The regime dismissed the claim and said the rebels only were trying to deflect attention from the killing last week of the opposition’s military commander, possibly by other rebels.

The images on television showed the son at a Tripoli hospital visiting people wounded in a NATO airstrike and said it was on Tuesday. If genuine, it would be the first time he has been seen in public since the reports of his death.

The Libyan revolt that began in February has sunk into a deep stalemate in the past few months, with the rebels holding on to most of the eastern half of the country that they captured early on and Col. Gadhafi’s regime controlling most of the west. Neither side has been able to tip the balance into an outright victory, even with months of NATO airstrikes pounding regime targets.

State television also showed funerals for dozens of civilians it said had died in another NATO airstrike on Tuesday in Zlitan, a main front for the rebels fighting Col. Gadhafi’s troops. It is about 90 miles southeast of Tripoli, the capital.

The channel has been airing images in black and white to honor a three-day mourning period for the 85 people the government said lost their lives in Zlitan.

More than 200 people gathered around about 40 coffins set on the ground in a cemetery under the shadows of palm trees. Someone with a loudspeaker delivered a speech while the crowd interrupted him with calls of “Allahu Akbar” — Arabic for “God is Great.”

“Let everyone know that the planes, supported by the governments of Qatar and the Emirates, will only increase our grudge against them and will only increase our steadfastness in the face of the enemy,” the man with the loudspeaker said.

A day earlier, state television ran images of Libyans rummaging through the rubble of buildings the government said were destroyed by the airstrike. They were shown digging out body parts and piling dead babies in sacks in the back of ambulances. It said 33 children and 32 women were among those killed.

In Brussels on Wednesday, NATO described the Libyan claims about deaths among civilians as “unfounded allegations.”

“We stand by our conviction that this was a military target,” said an official who could not be named under standing rules. “Careful planning went into the strike to make sure that civilians would not be harmed.”

In other developments, the European Union said it was adding two more Libyan businesses to its list of companies and individuals targeted by sanctions. A statement said the two firms would be named Thursday in the EU’s official journal.

So far, the 27-nation bloc has frozen the funds of six port authorities, 49 state-run companies and 39 individuals “involved in the serious human rights abuses in Libya.”

The 39 individuals, who include Col. Gadhafi and several of his family members, also are banned from traveling to the bloc.

And in the United Arab Emirates, a new Libyan ambassador backed by the rebels’ leadership council officially presented his credentials to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Mubarak al-Junaibi. The ambassador, Arif Ali, expressed the council’s gratitude for the Emirates’ support, according to a report on official state news agency WAM.

The UAE joined the NATO-led coalition enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya and was one of the first Arab countries to recognize the rebel council as Libya’s government.

Associated Press writers Adam Schreck contributed to this report from Dubai, Maamoun Youssef from Cairo and Slobodan Lekic from Brussels.

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