Libya's Col Gaddafi killed in crossfire, says NTC

 

Amateur video of Col Gaddafi shortly before he was killed

Libya's Col Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire after being captured in his birthplace of Sirte, officials say.

Acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said he had been shot in the head in an exchange between Gaddafi loyalists and National Transitional Council fighters.

He confirmed that Col Gaddafi, who had been taken alive, had died before reaching hospital.

Nato's governing body, meeting in the coming hours, is expected to declare an end to its Libyan bombing campaign.

Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that with the death of Col Gaddafi "that moment has now moved much closer".

"After 42 years, Col Gaddafi's rule of fear has finally come to an end," he said. "I call on all Libyans to put aside their differences and work together to build a brighter future."

Mahmoud Jibril: "He was injured with a shot to his head"

Wild scenes of celebration continued late into the night in towns and cities across Libya at news of the colonel's death.

Groups of young men fired guns in the air, and drivers honked their horns in celebration.

In the capital, Tripoli, cars clogged the city centre.

Golden gun

Mr Jibril, number two in the National Transitional Council (NTC), held a news conference in Tripoli to confirm the colonel's death.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed," he said.

Video footage suggests Col Gaddafi was dragged through the streets.

At the scene

Residents swarmed the streets of the capital, waving flags and cheering from the windows of their cars.

Streets in various districts have been gridlocked for hours.

People and fighters manning checkpoints shouted out "God is Great", as some distributed mints and biscuits - later dubbed "revolutionary treats" - to passing cars.

There are many who will be wondering "what next?" for Libya as it embarks on a new era unobtainable for almost half a century.

But for many Libyans tonight, it is a time to rejoice.

It is unclear from the footage, broadcast by al-Jazeera TV, whether he was alive or dead at the time.

Later, Mr Jibril told journalists that a "forensic report" had concluded that the colonel had died from bullet wounds after he had been captured and driven away.

"When the car was moving it was caught in crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi forces in which he was hit by a bullet in the head," he said, quoting from the report.

"The forensic doctor could not tell if it came from the revolutionaries or from Gaddafi's forces."

Earlier, some NTC fighters gave a different account of the colonel's death, saying he had been shot by his captors when he tried to escape.

One NTC fighter told the BBC that he found Col Gaddafi hiding in a hole, and the former leader had begged him not to shoot.

The fighter showed reporters a golden pistol he said he had taken from Col Gaddafi.

Arabic TV channels showed images of troops surrounding two large drainage pipes where the reporters said Col Gaddafi was found.

US President Barack Obama said it was a "momentous day" for Libya.

He said the country had a "long and winding road towards full democracy", but the US and other countries would stand behind Tripoli.

Col Gaddafi was toppled from power in August after 42 years in charge of the country.

He was making his last stand in Sirte alongside two of his sons, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam, according to reports.

Nato air strike

A body that officials identified as that of Mutassim has been shown on Libyan TV.

A reporter with Reuters news agency described how the body of Mutassim - the former national security adviser - had been laid out on blankets on the floor of a house in the city of Misrata, while people jostled to take pictures of the corpse with their mobile phones.

The body of Col Gaddafi was also taken to Misrata.

There are conflicting reports as to the whereabouts of Saif al-Islam.

Acting Justice Minister Mohammad al-Alagi told AP news agency that Saif al-Islam had been captured and taken to hospital with a leg wound.

But another NTC official said his whereabouts were unknown.

Nato, which has been running a bombing campaign in Libya for months, said it had carried out an air strike earlier on Thursday.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said French jets had fired warning shots to halt a convoy carrying Col Gaddafi as it tried to flee Sirte.

He said Libyan fighters had then descended and taken the colonel.

Proof of Col Gaddafi's fate came in grainy pieces of video, first circulated among fighters, and then broadcast by international news channels.

The first images showed a bloodied figure presumed to be Col Gaddafi.

Later, video emerged of the colonel being bundled on to the back of a pick-up truck after being captured alive.

None of the video footage has been independently verified.

'Full of challenges'

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse has visited the drain where Col Gaddafi was reportedly found by NTC forces

Col Gaddafi's death came after weeks of fierce fighting for Sirte, one of the last remaining pockets of resistance.

A senior official, Mahmoud Shammam, told the BBC that fighting throughout Libya was over.

World leaders urged the NTC to carry through its promise to reform the country.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who had taken a leading role in Nato's intervention, said it was "a day to remember all of Col Gaddafi's victims".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it a "historic" moment, but warned: "The road ahead for Libya and its people will be difficult and full of challenges."

China said the death of Col Gaddafi marked the turning of a page in Libya's history. It called for an inclusive political transition in Libya as soon as possible, to protect the unity of the country and restore social stability.

Russia's President Dimitry Medvedev said he hoped Libya could achieve a peaceful transition to a modern democratic state.

Officials said the NTC intended to announce the "liberation of the country" in the coming days, allowing them to begin pushing through democratic reforms that will lead to elections.

 

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  • Comment number 301.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 300.

    Look, all of you complaining of Gaddafi's death, in the history of every other country, there has always been bloodshed for freedom. Personally his life is worth the same as a murdered protester in the past, this is the time for Libyans to get it right, truce for all forces, no more killings. Make peace, and prosper, best wishes from Australia.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 299.

    Libya has just became yet another NATO colony. Poor Libyan people as the new rule of."law" will be such which will allow NATO forces and western "re-builders" to ENJOY FULL CONTROL OF ALL LIBYAN RESOURCES TO THEIR CONTROL AND DISPOSAL, Welcome to new imperialism where:
    1. NATO destroys your country down to the stone ages and
    2. Helps you to rebuild it at your own expenses plus cost of the war

  • Comment number 298.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 297.

    By Gaddafis own standards, he had a very reasonable death. He was not tortured for day upon day, week upon week.

    There is still the question of others who unquestionably participated in the horror & attrocity afflicted upon thousands.

    Gaddafi is as vile & abhorant as European human right views that expect people to live in peace next door to those who massacred their familys, would YOU!!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 296.

    BBC: stop lying. He was executed in a barbaric moment of depraved thuggery. The mainstream media, which includes the BBC, is lying through its teeth to support our own corrupt governments - the very governments who did deals with him for decades and sold him the weapons that he allegedly used against his own people.

    Is anyone surprised that Western leaders wanted him dead? His secrets are lost.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 295.

    Apologies for the spelling errors i was typing too fast: Before i got cut off: "i shot an unarmed man" as that would be cowardly"

  • rate this
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    Comment number 294.

    This is a lesson to all of those dictatorship leaders throughout the world, especially to those Africa's dictators. Our dictators, please take a lesson from Libya.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 293.

    Next stop for the cross-fire, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. A link must not be established between the US, Lockerbie and Iran Air Flight 655.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 292.

    The lack of due process does not bode well for the NTC or for NATO. If NATO had intelligence that the convoy was on the move it could and should have been tracked rather than targeted until special forces could have captured all of the senior members of Gaddafi's government. Then trials could have been held to ensure that there was the possibility of reconciliation for Libya. That is in doubt now

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 291.

    Pfft. The official account is no more believable than
    "His head fell off- I tell you, it just fell off!"

    Gadaffi's convenient death has
    - removed an insurgency leader/ figurehead
    - removed the chance of a drawn out court hearing (like Milosevich)
    - removed the chance of embarrassing disclosures

    Job done, NATO. Now, who's next?

  • Comment number 290.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 289.

    Libya has enough oil and a small enough population for everyone there to be as rich as those in Dubai or Kuwait. The fact that they are not is entirely the fault of Gadaffi and his gangsters bleeding the country dry for the last 40 years and murdering all opposition.
    His end was sordid and unfortunate; but hopefully heralds a bright new beginning for all Libyans. He's not worth the crocodile tears

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 288.

    I think he was first roughed up when found (as we can see in the video) and then executed. I was not a fan but i am a fan of the truth. The NTC kept chaning their account "he is alive", "he was wounded in the crossfire" "the bombs from the NATO jest injured him", "he was shot in the abdomen", "he was shot in the head"... what is it? Nobody can bodly say "i shot an unarmed man" as that would be co

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 287.

    I pity libyans,they think tyrant is dead,but they shud also think of what they are going to loose to d western world who are just helping dem becus of their rich oil,dat is what Gadhafi has been protecting for years,i congratulate them bcus they have just win a freepassage to control d libyans indirectly.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 286.

    What we saw yesterday, was not heroic,neither inspired justice from the NTC and his combattants. IIt was just Barbaric and Inhumane just as the person they opt to Oust. The People of Libya have Forsaken themselves driven by Western Idealism and Dictate. Who are we to set upon Judgement before the Law of Court? Mr. Kaddhafi should have been given a proper Trial before execution. R.I.P kaddhafi.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 285.

    And now on with the shariah law, the legislation against women's rights, the disappearance of any semblance of human rights, the civil war, the failed state.
    Another triumph, like our brilliant work in Iraq!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 284.

    Just as the world celebrated at Hitlers death, Gadaffis death is no less such a celebration now.

    But lets NOT EVER forget that thousands upon thousands of Libyans will be mourning for brutally lost ones for the remainder of their lives.

    Gaddafi, like Hitler, would have fought until the last drop of blood of the last child had been spilt.

    I hope he felt the fear he afflicted upon so many

  • Comment number 283.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 282.

    He was a monster and met a monsters end. I just hope Kim Jong Il and Mugabe have watched the footage of his death. Madness tend not to be very bright in the " all actions of consequences " department. But maybe some little light might go on thats says " This could be my end too"

 

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