Israeli intelligence met with Libyan general Haftar's son - report

Haftar, the son of the Libyan General, is currently eyeing Libya's presidential seat, which will be decided in December of this year.

A member of the troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government rides a military vehicle as he prepares before heading to Sirte, on the outskirts of Misrata, Libya, July 18, 2020 (photo credit: AYMAN SAHELY/REUTERS)
A member of the troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government rides a military vehicle as he prepares before heading to Sirte, on the outskirts of Misrata, Libya, July 18, 2020
(photo credit: AYMAN SAHELY/REUTERS)
Israeli Intelligence Ministry officials secretly met with Saddam Haftar, the son of the de-facto leader of Libya General Khalifa Haftar, according to a report in the Washington Free Beacon.
Haftar, the son, is currently eyeing Libya's presidential seat, which will be decided in December.
Haftar, who many see as a proxy for his father according to the report, has been seeking Western backing for his bid to rule the country.
The report claims that Israeli officials traveled to the country as a "signal" of support for Haftar's bid.
It could be seen as a step to normalizing relations between Libya and Israel, if the report stands to be true.
While the Israeli embassy refused to comment to the report, the Free Beacon quoted a source familiar with the meeting saying that Haftar and the Israeli officials discussed "the situation in the region" and "his aspiration for stability of his country," claiming that the "Israelis are supporting him.
Haftar would be running against Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, who is the son of the late dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
During the Libyan general's rise to power, following Gaddafi's death, Haftar was given a military rank and a brigade by his father to command.
The Free Beacon quoted the State Department as being uninvolved in the upcoming election, and unwilling to take a position.
"While we are taking no position on candidates, we would note that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is designated under UN and US sanctions, and also remains subject to an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court," a State Department spokesman told the Free Beacon.
Haftar casted himself as the person who can bring stability to Libya after years of conflict, ridding the OPEC member of Islamist militants and reining in migrant smuggling to Europe.
A former ally of Gaddafi, Haftar returned to Libya in 2011 from the United States, to join the NATO-backed revolution that ended four decades of one-man rule.
Among the officers who supported Gaddafi when he seized power from King Idris in 1969, Haftar was disowned by Gaddafi after he was captured leading Libyan forces in Chad in 1987.
He settled outside Washington DC in Virginia and returned to Libya only as the revolt against Gaddafi was gathering pace.

Zachary Keyser and Reuters contributed to this report.