Gaddafi son mourned, NATO hits Misrata outskirts

Mon May 2, 2011 3:30pm GMT

By Lin Noueihed

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Crowds chanting support for Muammar Gaddafi gathered in Tripoli on Monday for the funeral of his son, killed in a NATO airstrike that has raised questions about the West's role in the uprising against the Libyan leader.

Gaddafi's forces halted their bombardment of the port in the rebel-held city of Misrata after NATO air strikes, but the port remained closed, a rebel spokesman told Reuters, thwarting efforts to bring supplies in by sea to the besieged city.

NATO planes also struck overnight on positions held by Libyan government forces near the rebel-held town of Zintan.

The developments highlighted the reliance of the faltering rebel movement on military backing from the West. But Saturday's NATO air raid on a Gaddafi compound, which the government says killed his 29-year-old son Saif al-Arab and three young grandchildren, added a new twist.

The announcement of the deaths triggered attacks by angry crowds on the British and French embassies and the U.S. diplomatic mission in Tripoli, and accusations from the Libyan officials that NATO had been trying to assassinate Gaddafi.

About 2,000 people carrying flags and pictures of Gaddafi turned out for the funeral. They pumped their fists in the air and vowed to avenge the death of Saif al-Arab.

"We are all with Gaddafi's Libya," read one placard.

Saif al-Arab's coffin, covered in flowers and wrapped in the green flag that has represented Libya since Gaddafi took power in a 1969 coup, was carried through the crowds to the grave at Hani cemetery in the Libyan capital.   Continued...

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