Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam to run for Libya presidency

In this file photo, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son Seif Al-Islam speaks during an interview with Reuters in Tripoli Mar. 10, 2011. (Reuters)
Updated 22 December 2017

Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam to run for Libya presidency

CAIRO: Former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam plans to run for the country’s presidency in elections next year, nearly seven years after his father was deposed and killed.
The younger Qaddafi, 45, “enjoys the support of major tribes in the country,” said family spokesman Basem Al-Hashimi Al-Soul of the Qaddafi-supporting Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes. He is expected to publicly announce his candidacy soon.
Qaddafi was captured and detained by the Zintan militia in southern Libya in November 2011, after the revolt against his father. He was released in July 2016 and a year later was pardoned by the government in Tobruk led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
His exact whereabouts since then are unknown, but he is thought to have met local tribes and supporters of his father’s regime to discuss running for the presidency.
Qaddafi’s supporters are confident that he will return to the political scene, Mohammad Gomaa, an analyst at the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, told Arab News. Pressure from these supporters for Qaddafi’s release indicated that the old regime had growing political influence, he said.
However, Paul Sullivan, a Middle East expert in Washington, cast doubt on whether Qaddafi would be able to unify Libya’s factions, who derive their legitimacy from their roles in the 2011 revolution and afterward.
“The Qaddafis were some of the most divisive people in the history of Libya. There are lots of Libyans who still harbor deep resentment and anger, and fear, toward the ousted leader,” he told Arab News.
Nevertheless, events could not be predicted and may hold “lots of surprises,” he said.
Haftar, the military commander whose forces control large parts Libya, has also hinted that he would run for the presidency in next year’s elections. He said he would “listen to the will of the people.”

Deadly suicide attack hits Baghdad

Updated 50 sec ago

Deadly suicide attack hits Baghdad

  • Conflicting death toll reports on Tayaran Square attack

BAGHDAD: A twin suicide bombing killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 30 in a Baghdad market on Thursday in the first such attack in years, security and medical sources said.

An Iraqi security source meanwhile said there were at least 28 dead and another 73 injured, Al Arabiya reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Suicide bombings have been rare in the Iraqi capital since the defeat of Daesh in 2017. The last took place in January 2018.

The Iraqi military said two attackers wearing explosive vests blew themselves up among shoppers at a crowded market in Tayaran Square in central Baghdad, adding that several people had been killed.

An interior ministry spokesman said the death toll was at least 13, saying that number was expected to rise as some wounded were in critical condition.

Baghdad has witnessed almost no such attacks since Iraqi forces and a US-backed coalition drove the Daesh militant group from territory it controlled in Iraq in 2017.

The last deadly suicide blast in the Iraqi capital took place in January 2018, also at Tayaran Square, killing at least 27 people.