NATO forces last weekend fired three missiles on a building in Tripoli that commanders said was used as a command center to launch attacks on anti-Gadhafi forces. Tripoli said the missiles killed Gadhafi's 29-year-old son Saif Gadhafi and three of the leader's grandchildren.
A source close to the Gadhafi family told London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that Gadhafi considered his son a martyr for his country.
"The leader is proud of his son's martyrdom," the source said. "Saif al-Arab became a martyr defending his country and his family, unlike those who were killed whilst fighting their own people with the assistance of enemies."
Western forces enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya are defending the airstrikes amid accusations they are targeting Gadhafi and his close circle for assassination.
Libyan opposition leaders told the newspaper, however, that Gadhafi is playing the role of an "oppressed leader" in order to win support and create divisions among the rebels.