Life in fast lane – and at home

THey are snapshots of a life he will never know again – Muammar al-Gaddafi with world leaders such as Fidel Castro, Leonid Brezhnev and Gamal Nasser, but also more intimate family pictures in poses with his children and grandchildren.

And this weekend they were scattered around his ruptured Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, ignored by Libyans busy “liberating” items such as a Hello Kitty blanket and plates emblazoned with scenes of an older Tripoli. The pricier items, such as gold-plated guns and huge televisions, have long gone.

Other images showed him with Yasser Arafat; Nelson Mandela; and Hosni Mubarak, the jailed former president of Egypt. One picture captured his son Saif al-Islam, after his circumcision. Another showed him playing football with a grandson. “You should burn each one of those!” one man shouted as reporters looked at them.

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On Sunday some visitors peered through doors charred by air strikes, as if breaching the forbidden.

“If you ask me, he’s staying right here, in our midst,” said Zuheir al-Arabi, a former employee at Libya’s state television. “He has to live somewhere big – and here’s the evidence.”

He rummaged through Gaddafi’s belongings, landing on a jar of dried herbs that he insisted the Libyan leader has relied on to cast magic spells. “He still has a surprise for us,” Mr Arabi said.