Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi escaped a NATO missile strike in Tripoli that killed one of his sons and three young grandchildren, a government spokesman said early on Sunday.
The attack struck the house of Gaddafi’s younger son, Seif al-Arab, when the Libyan leader and his wife were inside, Moussa Ibrahim told reporters.
The 29-year-old son and three of Gaddafi’s grandchildren, all younger than 12, were killed.
AP Television has no means of independently verifying the spokesman’s claims.
The spokesman denounced the attack as a crime and violation of international law.
Journalists taken to the walled complex of one-storey buildings in a residential Tripoli neighbourhood saw heavy bomb damage.
The blast had torn down the ceiling of one building and left a huge pile of rubble and twisted metal on the ground.
Heavy bursts of gunfire were heard in Tripoli after the air strike, which came hours after Gaddafi called for a mutual ceasefire and negotiations with NATO powers to end a six-week bombing campaign.
NATO’s attack on a Gaddafi family compound in a residential area of Tripoli signalled escalating pressure on the Libyan leader who has tried to crush an armed rebellion that erupted in mid-February.
The alliance acknowledged that it had struck a “command and control building”, but insisted all its targets are military in nature and linked to Gaddafi’s systematic attacks on the population.
Seif al-Arab Gaddafi was one of the youngest of Gaddafi’s seven sons and brother of the better known Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who had been touted as a reformist before the uprising began in mid-February.