The news of a Libyan private jet, reportedly carrying the wife of Hannibal Gaddafi, the model Aline Skaff, being denied permission to land at Beirut international airport on 21 February, has been the subject of media reports and public speculation in Libya.
Aline Skaff, aged 29, is a Lebanese national, who married Hannibal Gaddafi in 2003 in Copenhagen, after the two met in Paris. Gaddafi and Skaff have a 6-year old son named Hannibal Jnr.
One of Aline Skaff’s relative’s informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “she [Aline Skaff] was not on board the airplane which was denied permission to land at the [Beirut] airport a few days ago, but rather it was her brother and sister who were on board, who were in Libya. The relative added “they have entered Lebanon, but Aline has yet to return, but nobody can prevent her from entering [Lebanon], for she is Lebanese, and has the right to enter her country whenever she wants.”
Aline Sakff’s relative added “she [Aline] was in Lebanon two months ago, and she often visits her village [in Lebanon], where she is protected by heavy security, being accompanied by more than 5 security guards. This is because Hannibal is very concerned about the safety of his son from Hezbollah and the Amal movement due to the Imam Moussa al-Sadr case.”
Relations between Libya and Lebanon were strained following the disappearance of Imam Moussa al-Sadr, chairman of Lebanon’s Shiite Islamic Council, who went missing during a visit to Libya in August 1978. Reports allege that the Libyan regime had him killed, although Libyan official said that Sadr had left the country for Italy.
Aline Skaff’s relative also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “she owns a large palace in the Adma region, and she is active in her village, and participated in the last municipal and parliamentary elections.”
The relative added that despite everything being reported in the media, “her husband [Hannibal] is very loving and treats her well…and Colonel Gaddafi himself respects her and loves her and always plays with his grand-children.”
Hannibal Gaddafi has a long, turbulent history in the press; he allegedly mistreated two servants at a Geneva hotel, which led to his arrest and a diplomatic schism between Switzerland and Libya. In December 2009, police were called to London’s Claridge’s hostel after staff hears screaming from Hannibal’s room. His wife was later found to be suffering from facial injuries, but no charges were brought against the Libyan leader’s son after she claimed to have sustained the injuries in a fall.