| 9.6°C Dublin

Fate of absent Gaddafi unknown

The fate of Muammar Gaddafi was thrown into question yesterday as NATO was unable to confirm where he is located, following air strikes that killed his son 12 days ago.

The Libyan leader has not appeared in public since April 30, the day on which his youngest son, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, died. He did not attend his son's funeral last week.

One Libyan official with access to Gaddafi hesitated when asked by reporters if the leader was incapacitated or killed, before saying that he was unsure.

Gaddafi was last seen on Libyan state television on the evening of April 30, shortly before Nato forces bombed a house in the presidential Bab-al-Aziza compound, killing Saif Gaddafi (29) and three of the leader's grandchildren.

The Libyan government said that Gaddafi himself had been at the property, but had escaped unhurt.

Gaddafi's 12-day absence from the public eye is the longest since the beginning of the unrest last February.

The Libyan leader had appeared on state television or given interviews to other broadcasters at least 16 times since then, with 11 days the longest previous interval between appearances.

Earlier this week, Nato said that it had "no information" about Gaddafi's whereabouts and European governments yesterday said they had no definitive intelligence on whether he was dead or alive.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had "seen no reports to suggest he is dead".

The French foreign ministry said it had "no information relating to Mr Gaddafi's personal situation", while Ignazio La Russa, the Italian defence minister, also said his country had no information about the dictator's current condition or location. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent