Muammar Gaddafi has survived a NATO airstrike which killed one of his sons and three of his grandsons, according to a Libyan government spokesman who described the bombing as an assassination attempt.
Saif al-Arab, not to be confused with his high profile older brother Saif al-Islam, was 29.
Journalists were brought to a villa said to belong to Saif al-Arab in a wealthy residential area of Tripoli. They said they counted three missiles.
NATO has confirmed an airstrike on the Libyan capital last night in the neighbourhood but says it hit a known command and control centre and insisted it did not target civilians.
The announcement of the deaths prompted celebrations in Benghazi, the heart of the anti-Gaddafi uprising in the east of the country.
But some voiced caution, claiming it could be a fabrication designed to garner sympathy.
If it proves true, it is likely to lead to more accusations that NATO’s overstepping its mandate which is only to protect civilians.