The Gadhafi family in focus

Mike Krumboltz
The Envoy

Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remains in hiding and continues to draw massive online interest. Also huge on the Web over the past several weeks: his family.

According to Algerian diplomats, Gadhafi's wife, three of his children, and several of his grandchildren have fled to Algeria, west of Libya. And while official news is understandably scant regarding the Gadhafi clan's specific movements and activities, some bits of information have found their way to the Web.

Drawing the most online interest are two of Gadhafi's daughters. Aisha Gadhafi, Moammar's only biological daughter, gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday, shortly after crossing over to Algeria. According to an article from CNN, Aisha had been expected to deliver in September, making the baby a bit early.

Unlike some of her siblings, Aisha largely stayed out of the public eye during her father's reign as leader of Libya. A lawyer, she ran a charitable foundation in Libya and assisted in the defense of Saddam Hussein, during his trial in 2004. She also defended the man accused of throwing his shoe at President George W. Bush.

Aisha also made news when she spoke out against Hillary Clinton for not leaving her husband during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Commentators in the Arab media like to refer to the 42-year-old as the "Claudia Schiffer" of the region thanks to her stunning looks. She suffered a loss in April when her daughter and brother were killed during a NATO airstrike. Over the past 24 hours, online lookups on Aisha Gaddafi have surged 250 percent. Related queries on "aisha gadhafi pictures" also spiked.

Even more striking is the renewed interest in Gadhafi's adopted daughter, Hana. For years, Moammar Gadhafi has been claiming that Hana was killed as a very young girl during a 1986 airstrike. However, recent reports have raised skepticism over Gadhafi's account.

When Libyan rebels invaded Gadhafi's compound, they discovered a room with Hana's birth certificate as well as photos of a woman with the name "Hana" written on the back. Additionally, according to a recent account from the Associated Press, "a Tripoli official surfaced, saying Hana worked for him as a surgeon up until the rebels came to town."

This isn't the first time that the official story of Hana's death has been called into question. There have long been rumors that the child was never actually killed, and that Gadhafi was using her alleged death as justification for attacks on United States citizens. As of now, nothing is certain either way, but the new reports have led to a flurry of searches on the Web. Lookups for "Hana Gadhafi alive" have lately shot up more than 300 percent.

Other members of the Gadhafi family tree are inspiring online searches, as well. Son Mohammad Gadhafi, the oldest of Moammar's children, was reported to have escaped Libya and may be residing in Algeria. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is wanted by the rebels as well as the International Crime Court for crimes against humanity. Initial reports had indicated that rebel forces may have captured him. However, his current whereabouts remain unknown.  Web searches on both sons have more than doubled in recent days.