(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- A man who appears to closely resemble one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons appeared on what Libyan state television said was a live broadcast Monday night, following rumors the son had been killed last week after a kamikaze attack by a Libyan pilot.
The footage purports to show 27-year-old Khamis Gadhafi, head of Libya's elite military squad, the Khamis Brigade, on Monday in a truck surrounded by guards as he greeted jubilant Libyans at his father's compound in Tripoli.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the video, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told ABC News last week the U.S. government had heard of the death of one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons "from many different sources," but said the evidence was lacking.
"I can't confirm it, but I've heard it," Clinton said. "We hear it from many different sources. That's why I can't confirm it. I can't give any confirmation because the evidence is not sufficient." Khamis' death from severe burns suffered in the kamikaze plane attack on Libya's central military command compound was widely reported in opposition media.
In several leaked U.S. State Department cables posted on the website WikiLeaks, U.S. officials say Khamis Gadhafi and his elite military unit, which is "widely known as the most well-trained and well-equipped force in the Libyan military," served as effectively "a regime protection unit." Khamis received military training in Russia, including earning a Ph.D. in military science in 2007, according to one leaked document.
One cable from December 2009 notes that the continuation of the regime's power in the event of Moammar Gadhafi's death or resignation rested in part with Khamis. "It seems only natural that anyone intent on assuming power would try to align himself with Khamis," the cable says.
Despite his role as protector of the regime, when the popular uprising exploded in Libya in mid-February, Khamis was not there. Instead, he was waltzing down Wall Street, just one stop on a whirlwind, cross-country tour of the U.S. organized by an American company with U.S. State Department approval.
The trip was part of an internship program with Los Angeles-based engineering giant AECOM, set to span just over a month, and take Khamis to tours and meetings with high-profile universities and companies from Houston to L.A., San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and Boston, according to travel documents obtained by ABC News.
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