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Surprise Headline Of The Day: Gadhafi's Daughter 'Eyeing Asylum In Israel'

Stay with us for a minute while we walk through the reporting chain:

The Los Angeles Times writes today that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's 35-year-old daughter Aisha is "reportedly eyeing asylum in Israel."

It gets that surprising notion from "the Israeli news website Walla," which says it got the news from a report by Intelligence Online (which unfortunately is behind a paywall).

And Intelligence Online, which claims it "sheds light on aspects of intelligence that escape the wider news media," says it has learned about Aisha's supposed desire because that's what she has told "confidants from Europe."

Aisha and some other members of her now-deceased father's family are reportedly in Algeria. She's said to be fearful that authorities there will send her back to Libya.

The idea of a member of the Libyan dictator's family settling in Israel after all the state-sponsored terrorism aimed at Jews and others during Gadhafi's more than 40 years in power seems far-fetched. As the Times says, Israel "would probably balk at harboring the daughter of a slain Arab dictator."

But, as The Economist has reported, there have been rumors for years of Jewish roots in the Gadhafi family tree, via a Jewish great-grandmother. And some supposed cousins of Gadhafi's in Israel even wanted him to seek refuge there — and said that he should have claimed Israeli citizenship as Jews may do.

British-born attorney Nick Kaufman, who has been a prosecutor in Israel, is Aisha Gadhafi's attorney.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.