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Gaddafi dead, eyewitness recounts final moments

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Gaddafi dead, eyewitness recounts final moments

  • A screen grab from Al Jazeera of a video said to show Muammar Gaddafi's body. Gaddafi is dead after being wounded during his capture in Sirte, Libya, on October 20, 2011, according to unconfirmed reports.
    Al JazeeraA screen grab from Al Jazeera of a video said to show Muammar Gaddafi's body. Gaddafi is dead after being wounded during his capture in Sirte, Libya, on October 20, 2011, according to unconfirmed reports.

SIRTE, Libya — Imad Moustaf, a rebel fighter, said he witnessed the capture and killing of toppled Libya leader Muammar Gaddafi Thursday in Sirte, the ruler's hometown.

Moustaf said Gaddafi had been shot in the head and close to the heart on the outskirts of the western roundabout of Sirte, where he was hiding in a hole surrounded by bodyguards. Moustaf claimed to have been in the ambulance with Gaddafi when he died. The BBC, who spoke to another Libyan rebel, also reported that Gaddafi had been hiding in a hole. The BBC also reported that Gaddafi yelled, "Don't shoot," before he was killed.

Other rebel fighters said that Gaddafi's body, along with dozens of loyalist prisoners, was being taken to Misrata.

Motassim Gaddafi, the fifth son of Gaddafi and a Libyan Army officer who is believed to have been directing the final stand in Sirte, was also said to be killed. His body was spotted at a local field hospital. But Al Jazeera later reported that he was captured alive.

Libya's interim government confirmed Thursday that Gaddafi was killed as well.

"A new Libya is born today," Mahmoud Shammam, the chief spokesman of the Transitional National Council, said Thursday as reported by The New York Times. "This is the day of real liberation. We were serious about giving him a fair trial. It seems God has some other wish."

Libya's prime minister has confirmed that Gaddafi is dead.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference in Tripoli, as reported by the Washington Post. “Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

Libyan officials have also reported that Gaddafi’s son, Mo’tassim, was taken prisoner in the same incident in which Gaddafi was killed, according to Reuters. Mo’tassim was said to be “lying on bed, covered in blood, but alive.”

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice-chairman of Libya’s NTC, confirmed Gaddafi’s death and proclaimed “the end of tyranny," in this video from the Guardian.

A rebel military official in Tripoli later confirmed to Al Jazeera that the rebels had captured and killed Gaddafi but did not release further details about his death. The U.S. State Department has yet to confirm Gaddafi's death.

U.N. Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon has reacted to the news, reported the Guardian.

“This day marks a historic transition for Libya. In the coming days we will witness scenes of celebration as well as grief for those who have lost so much. But I recognize that this is only the end of the beginning. The road ahead for Libya will be difficult and full of challenges," he said.

"This is a time of healing," he added, "not for revenge."

Meanwhile, a Libyan doctor in a Misrata hospital has told Ahram Online, an Egyptian news source, that Gaddafi died from gunshots to the stomach and head.

NATO member states will meet tomorrow to decide an end on the military campaign in Libya, a NATO official has told The Guardian.

"A military assessment of the current situation in Libya anda recommendation for the wrapping up of the Nato operation on its way to Nato HQ. This will most likely prompt a special meeting of the North Atlantic Council tomorrow to consider the recommendation and decide on the future of the current mission," the note to the Guardian read.

Meanwhile, relatives of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing have given their reactions to the media.

Jim Swire, whose daughter died in the bombing, told Sky News: “now that he is dead we may have lost an opportunity for getting nearer to the truth.”

“I would have loved to have heard about what Gaddafi knew about the Lockerbie atrocity. But everybody looking at this situation should be glad that it probably hails an end to the gross violence in that country,” he said.

The Telegraph reported that Kathy Tedeschi, whose first husband was killed in the Lockerbie bombing, reacted to the news by saying, “I hope he’s in hell with Hitler.”

Libyan rebels first took arms in February after a popular protest movement gripped the eastern part of the country. The conflict was largely a stalemate until NATO forces began flying sorties over the country in late March. Although the capital of Tripoli fell last month, loyalist soldiers holed up in Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, had been making a last stand for several weeks until Thursday morning, when rebel forces finally gained control of the entire city.

Reports: Gaddafi's body moved to Misrata

Muammar Gaddafi is dead after being seriously wounded in his capture Thursday near Sirte, Libya, according to GlobalPost sources in Sirte and officials with the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC).

There are multiple reports that Gaddafi's body has been taken to a secret location in Misrata, about 125 miles to the west of Sirte. 

"Gaddafi's body is with our unit in a car and we are taking the body to a secret place for security reasons," an NTC official told Reuters.

Gaddafi's body is now in Misrata and being kept in a mosque, Al Jazeera said.

Al Jazeera has shown an image that appears to be of Gaddafi's body, from a video the television network said it had acquired.

"We announce to the world that Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution," NTC spokesman Abdel Hafez Ghoga said, Agence France-Presse reported.

"It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Gaddafi has met his fate," he said.

Sources in Sirte told GlobalPost correspondent James Foley that Gaddafi had been mortally wounded while being captured, and the former Libyan leader died in the ambulance.

Rebel fighter Imad Moustaf, who claimed to be an eyewitness to Gaddafi's capture, said he saw Gaddafi with serious wounds to the head and near to his heart.

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