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Hannibal Gadhafi, son of late Libya leader, held by Shiite militia in Lebanon

Hannibal Gadhafi, the high-living son of the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has been kidnapped in Lebanon. Abductors may be tied to a Shiite cleric who disappeared in Libya decades ago.

Lebanese security sources told the AFP news agency that Hannibal Gadhafi had been “kidnapped Friday by an armed group" and said an investigation is under way.

The 40-year-old businessman appeared in a video late Friday on Beirut-based broadcaster Al-Jadeed TV appealing for anyone with knowledge of a long-disappeared Shiite cleric to come forward with information.

"I am with people who have a cause and they are loyal to their cause," Gadhafi said in the video. "We should respect their loyalty to their cause and at least give them the truth."

Gadhafi was speaking of followers of the late Imam Moussa al-Sadr, one of the most prominent Shiite clerics in the 20th century, who vanished during a 1978 trip to Libya.

Libya had maintained that the cleric and his two traveling companions left Tripoli in 1978 on a flight to Rome and suggested he was a victim of a power struggle among Shiites. But a former Libyan diplomat told the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat in 2011 that Sadr had been assassinated by the regime and buried in southern Libya.

Friday's video showed obvious signs that Gadhafi had been roughted up with swollen black eyes. But the video claimed he is "in good health, happy and relaxed."

It is not clear when he was kidnapped.

Son of Libyan strongman

Zwölfter Gipfel Afrikanische Union

Moamar Gadhafi was a Libyan revolutionary and president who ruled Libya from 1969 to 2011.

Born in 1975, he was among a group of family members -- including Moammar Gadhafi's wife Safiya, son Mohammed and daughter Aisha -- who escaped to neighboring Algeria after the fall of Tripoli in 2011.

His name appeared in the news in 2008 when he and his Lebanese wife, Aline Skaf, sparked a diplomatic incident with Switzerland when they were arrested in a luxury Geneva hotel for assaulting two former servants.

His father's regime demanded that no charges be brought and an apology be made over the allegations that he had assaulted the pair, Tunisian and Moroccan nationals. The case - which caused a long-running diplomatic dispute - was later dropped.

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jar/bw (AFP, AP)

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