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Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 08/26/2011

Gaddafi’s daughter Hana’s death in 1986 all a hoax?


South African President Nelson Mandela stands for a picture with the family of Moammar Gaddafi. At center stands a girl the AP says could be a 13-year-old Hana Gaddafi. (Obed Zilwa - AP)
When the U.S. bombed Col. Moammar Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli in 1986, the Libyan leader said his adopted infant daughter Hana had been killed, inspiring sympathy around the world for the loss of a daughter Gaddafi had never before mentioned.

For years, mystery surrounded Hana: Had she ever existed? Was she really dead? Had Gaddafi concocted the story as propaganda?

Now, an investigation by the Irish Times in Gaddafi’s compound, overtaken by rebel forces this week, seems to lay these questions to rest. In a room that is believed to have been Hana’s, the newspaper found documents and photographs that show it’s likely Hana is alive and working as a doctor in Tripoli.

Those documents include a passport photograph and others photographs taken of Hana, an examination paper from a Libyan medical university, and a certificate that shows a “Hana Muammar Gadafy” got an ‘A’ in an English language course.

Rumors and evidence of Hana’s existence had proliferated over the past few weeks and years.

Two weeks ago, the Telegraph obtained dental records belonging to a “Hana Qadhafi.”

The news site also reported then that Abdel Salam Jalloud, Gaddafi’s former right-hand man, said he believed Hana was alive and working as a doctor.

Earlier this year, Germany’s Die Welt said it had seen a document that showed the Gaddafi family assets in Switzerland. The document listed 23 members of the family, and Hana was among them. Die Welt’s report claimed Hana had spent time in London and was now a doctor.


Gaddafi squeezes the nose of a girl who is said to be Hana Gaddafi. (Lino Azzopardi - AP)
The Associated Press has also taken several photographs over the years that appear to have been of Hana, including the photo above and the one at left.

Politico reasons that Gaddafi may have faked his daughter’s death because Gaddafi “scored a worldwide propaganda coup” when he claimed he “was the victim of American imperialist aggression.”

When the attack happened in April 1986, The Post’s Christopher Dickey filed this report, indicating that Gaddafi was either upset by Hana’s death or a very good actor:

Qaddafi's rhetoric was cool by his usual standards, but tinged with bitterness.
‘We did not carry our fighting to the United States, they came here,’ he said in the 20-minute broadcast, which also was carried on radio. ‘We can tell Reagan that he does not have to try to protect his children and his citizens because we do not bomb children like the United States does,’ he said.
Libyan doctors said one of Qaddafi's two daughters was killed and the two youngest of his five sons were seriously injured in the bombing raid.

Almost two weeks later, The Post’s George C. Wilson reported that the U.S. had acknowledged “errant bombs” in Libya.

“The Defense Department, in its first official evaluation of the April 15 bombing raid against Libya, acknowledged yesterday that three bombs went astray,” Wilson wrote.

If Gaddafi orchestrated the hoax of Hana’s death to get an apology out of the U.S., he very nearly got it.

By  |  11:41 AM ET, 08/26/2011

 
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