The son of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi claimed that his family had forged an alliance with Islamist rebels, state-run Libyan television said Thursday.

Seif al-Islam Qadhafi, who terms the internal opposition to his father’s regime as radical extremists, was quoted as telling the New York Times that “the liberal (rebels) will escape or be killed... We will do it together.” He claimed to have negotiated the pact with Ali Sallabi, a leading Islamist in the rebel-held east.

The Qadhafi regime has termed the revolt in Libya an al-Qaeda plot to ignite civil strife in the country.

Mr. Qadhafi’s son, his father’s mouthpiece since the uprising started in February, hinted there was a deep split between the Islamists and liberal rebels in Libya.

The Islamists, he said, “are the real force on the ground.” “Everybody is taking off the mask, and now you have to face the reality,” he said.

“I know they are terrorists. They are bloody. They are not nice. But you have to accept them,” Mr. Qadhafi’s son told the paper.

The rebels’ leadership in Libya have said they have some Islamists among them, but have stressed that they are all united in demanding that Mr. Qadhafi go.

Mr. Seif reiterated that the Islamists were behind the killing of top rebel military commander General Abdel Fatah Younis last week.

Mr. Seif was quoted as telling the New York Times that the Islamist rebels had decided to get rid of those people like Abdel Fatah and for the liberals “to take control of the whole operation in Libya.”

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