TRIPOLI, Libya Members of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s family were reported Monday to have arrived in Algeria, a neighbor that Libyan rebels have accused of supporting the ousted regime.
The report cited Algeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry as saying the family entered the country Monday. It did not immediately provide additional details or say whether Gadhafi himself was with the family.
The report came as battles raged on two sides of Sirte, the southern city that is the headquarters of Gadhafi’s tribe and his regime’s last major bastion. The rebels were consolidating control of Tripoli, the capital.
Despite effectively ending his rule, the rebels have yet to find Gadhafi or his family members — something that has cast a pall of lingering uncertainty over the opposition’s victory.
The Egyptian news agency MENA, quoting unidentified rebel fighters, had reported from Tripoli over the weekend that six armored Mercedes sedans, possibly carrying Gadhafi’s sons or other top regime figures, had crossed the border at the southwestern Libyan town of Ghadamis into Algeria. Algeria’s Foreign Ministry had denied that report.
Ahmed Jibril, an aid to rebel National Transitional Council head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said if the report of Ghadafi relatives in Algeria is true, “we will demand that Algerian authorities hand them over to Libya to be tried before Libyan courts.”
Ahmed Bani, military spokesman of the council, said he was unsurprised to hear Algeria had welcomed Gadhafi relatives. Throughout the six-month Libyan uprising, rebels have accused Algeria of providing Gadhafi with mercenaries to curb the revolution.
Earlier Monday, Abdul-Jalil told senior NATO envoys meeting in the Gulf Arab nation of Qatar that Gadhafi can still cause trouble.
“Gadhafi is still capable of doing something awful in the last moments,” Abdul-Jalil told military chiefs of staff and other key defense officials from NATO nations including France, Italy and Turkey.