TRIPOLI, Libya – Libyans shouting for revenge buried Moammar Gadhafi’s second-youngest son to the thundering sound of anti-aircraft fire Monday, as South Africa warned that the NATO bombing that killed him would only bring more violence.
Libya’s leader did not attend the tumultuous funeral of 29-year-old Seif al-Arab, but older brothers Seif al-Islam and Mohammed paid their respects, thronged by a crowd of several thousand. Jostling to get closer to the coffin, draped with a green Libyan flag, mourners flashed victory signs and chanted “Revenge, revenge for you, Libya.”
Three of Gadhafi’s grandchildren, an infant and two toddlers, also died in Saturday’s attack, which NATO says targeted one of the regime’s command and control centers. Gadhafi and his wife were in the compound at the time, but escaped unharmed, Libyan officials said, accusing the alliance of trying to assassinate the Libyan leader.
NATO officials have denied they are hunting Gadhafi to break the battlefield stalemate between Gadhafi’s troops and rebels trying for the past 10 weeks to depose him.
Responding to the attack on Gadhafi compound, South Africa said Monday that “attacks on leaders and officials can only result in the escalation of tensions and conflicts on all sides and make future reconciliation difficult.” On Sunday, Russia accused NATO of a “disproportionate use of force” and called for an immediate cease-fire.
South Africa has attempted to mediate between Gadhafi and the rebels, proposing a cease-fire and dialogue. Rebel leaders have said they will only lay down their arms once Gadhafi and his family leave, but Gadhafi has refused.
Since the outbreak of fighting in mid-February, the Gadhafis have made only infrequent public appearances.
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