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Gadhafi's daughter says dad is well

By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 23 2011 9:37 p.m. MDT

Revolutionary fighters practice firing a mortar along the Mediterranean coast, some 34 miles (25 kilometers) from Sirte, Libya, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. Revolutionary fighters are maintaining positions along the main western road entering Sirte, but are holding back from launching an offensive as they fear for civilian's safety. Gadhafi troops within Sirte have allegedly blocked two escape routes set up by the revolutionaries to allow families to flee.

Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya — Moammar Gadhafi's firebrand daughter said in an audio recording broadcast Friday that her father is in high spirits and fighting alongside his supporters against the revolutionary forces who swept his regime from power.

In her first public remarks since the fall of Tripoli a month ago, Aisha Gadhafi accused the country's new leaders of being traitors, noting that some of them were members of Gadhafi's regime before defecting in the civil war.

"Those who have betrayed the pledge they offered (to Gadhafi), how come they won't betray you?" she said in a warning to Libyans.

The prerecorded four-minute message was broadcast on the Syrian-based Al-Rai TV, which has become Gadhafi's main mouthpiece. The elder Gadhafi, his chief spokesman and his son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, have also released statements through the channel since the takeover of Tripoli.

Aisha, her mother and two brothers fled to Algeria in late August as rebels swept into Libya's capital. Her father's whereabouts is unknown.

"I assure you, he is fine, a believer in God, in good spirits, is carrying his gun and is fighting side by side with the warriors," she said.

Echoing remarks her father has made to the same station, she called on the "lions" of Tripoli and other cities to rise up and fight the country's new rulers.

Aisha Gadhafi is a lawyer in her mid-30s who helped in the defense of Iraq's Saddam Hussein in the trial that led to his hanging.

For two years she served as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Development Program, focusing on combatting HIV/AIDS and violence against women. In February, the U.N. said it was ending its agreement with her after her father's crackdown on anti-government protesters at the start of what was to become Libya's civil war.

The Algerian Health Ministry reported that Aisha gave birth to a girl on Aug. 30 as she was fleeing across the border.

Libya's new leaders have struggled to consolidate their control over the entire country since their stunning entry into Tripoli at the end of August. Three major loyalist strongholds remain to be taken, including the city of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli.

Revolutionary fighters are planning a new assault on the city, a commander said Friday.

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