Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha gave birth to a baby girl just hours after fleeing to Algeria.
“Aisha gave birth very early this morning. She had a little girl. Mother and daughter are doing fine,” an Algerian government official said.
Aisha, her mother Sofia and brothers Mohammed and Hannibal arrived in Algeria on Monday after a dramatic escape across the desert.
Aisha had attempted to flee to Malta last month, according to the Telegraph, but was denied entry.
Mourad Benmehidi, the Algerian permanent representative to the United Nations, told the New York Times on Tuesday that one of the women in the fleeing party gave birth near the border as they fled, sans medical equipment. It has not been confirmed whether that person was Aisha.
Gaddafi’s only biological daughter and the daughter of his second wife Sofia, who also fled, Aisha has long been dubbed in the Arab press as the “Claudia Schiffer of North Africa,” for the regular bleaching of her hair and Western education.
But over the years, Aisha increasingly took on serious roles at home — serving as mediator, military official, U.N. goodwill ambassador, lawyer and humanitarian, and for the Gaddafi family, she was given the task of monitoring the “ne’er do wells,” according to WikiLeaks.
Of her father, whom she has staunchly defended throughout the Libyan conflict, she has said: “My father gives me a lot of time, sometimes I feel with him that he is the ruler and the ruled, and sometimes I feel that he is my compassionate friend. In any case, he is my remedy against pain and my fortress against grief.”
Aisha also defended Saddam Hussein, serving on his defense team and acting as an avid supporter of anti-American resistance in Iraq in her youth. “When you have an occupying army coming from abroad, raping your women and killing your own people, it is only legitimate that you fight them,” she said of her support.
In 2006, Aisha married her cousin Ahmed al-Gaddafi al-Qahsi, an army colonel with whom she had three children. The newborn is likely their fourth. According to the Gaddafis, Qahsi was killed in the July 26 bombing of Gaddafi’s compound.
The news of Aisha’s baby prompted many to worry about the continuation of the Gaddafi family.
“The dynasty grows,” Jim Roberts, assistant managing editor of the New York Times, tweeted. Blake Hounshell, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine wrote: “Given the birth of Aisha’s daughter, it is clear that the plan is to produce Gaddafis faster than the rebels can kill or capture them.”
In the unlikely scenario that Algeria were to turn over the Gaddafi family to the rebel Transitional National Council, Aisha’s new baby could complicate the process.
Gaddafi and several of his sons are wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.