Reports out of Tripoli have said that Gadhafi was killed in the town of Sirte, a strategic town east of Tripoli. Sirte has been the scene of a ferocious fight between forces still loyal to Gadhafi and those of the TNC (Transition National Council). The head of the council and acting PM, Mahmoud Jibril, confirmed the news this morning. “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gadhafi has been killed,” Jibril said at a news conference in Tripoli.
Jibril, who is himself a former official in the Gadhafi regime, went on to say that the rebel government will wait until later today or Friday to officially declare what it calls a state of liberation.
Earlier today, the TNC said that its fighters found and shot Gadhafi in Sirte, which finally fell to the rebels today after weeks of tough fighting.
Arabic television station, Al Jazeera, put out a video of what appeared to be a lifeless body lying in a pool of blood in the street surrounded by people. The station said it was the body of the Libyan leader. Libya’s Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told the Associated Press that Gadhafi was in a convoy when he was attacked by rebels.
NATO may have its footprint in the death of Gadhafi. As a matter of fact, NATO said that its jet fighters struck a convoy of Gadhafi’s loyalists fleeing Sirte this morning, but could not confirm that Gadhafi was in the convoy. The NATO acknowledgement was reported by the Associated Press reported.
No one knows for sure how Gadhafi died, if it is true. Thre has been several false rumors in the past about the death of some of Gadhafi sons. Later, those rumors turned out to be false. The TNC is notorious about ringing false alarm.
Gadhafi had been on the run for weeks after being chased out of the capital Tripoli by NATO bombers and rebel troops. He was believed to be hiding in the vast Libyan desert while calling on his supporters to rise up and sweep the rebel “dogs” away, but his once fearsome power was scoffed at by Libyans who had ransacked his palace compound and hounded him into hiding. But if this news turns out to be true, it is fair to say that the Colonel was never in the desert.
Gadhafi, 69, ruled Libya like a family business for almost 42 years. He seized control of Libya in Sept., 1969 in a bloodless coup when he was just 27 years old. The then young and dashing army captain and his small band of military officers overthrew the monarch King Idris, setting up a new Libyan Arab Republic that over the years became increasingly isolated from the rest of the world.
This is a developing story. We will bring more information as they become available.