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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi's grisly end: Picture shows Libyan dictator dead after being captured by rebels when they finally stormed his last stronghold

-Libyan prime minister confirms that former dictator is dead
-Reports he tried to flee in a convoy which was shelled
-Vehicles were driven back to his compound in Sirte
-Gaddafi in final attempt to flee before final push by rebels
-'Found in a hole' wearing military-style clothing, shouting 'Don't shoot'
-Died after suffering multiple wounds to head and body
-Nato bombed compound in Sirte before capture was announced

By Daily Mail Reporter

Captured image: A mobile phone picture, purporting to be that of wounded leader Muammar Gaddafi, was circulated shortly after the news of his capture broke

Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been killed, the country's prime minister has confirmed.

As reports of his death emerged, an image was released apparently showing the 69-year-old tyrant slumped against the bloodied legs of a revolutionary fighter.

Mahmoud Jibril later confirmed that the former dictator was dead. Gaddafi is the first leader to be killed in the Arab Spring wave of popular uprisings that swept the Middle East.

Hiding hole: A fighter points to the concrete pipe where Gaddafi was reportedly found. Arabic graffiti in blue reads: 'This is the place of Gaddafi, the rat. God is the greatest'

Gaddafi was found cowering in a hole in the ground at the centre of Sirte, after rebels moved through the seaside town during their final assault.

The revolutionary offensive began around 8am local time and progressed quickly into the town centre.

Gaddafi-loyal forces were holed up in the west of the central Green Square, and Nato airstrikes concentrated on a compound in that area of the town.

National Transitional Council (NTC) soldiers said that a convoy of at least five vehicles tried to leave the town in the early morning, but it came under sustained fire and was forced to return to the loyalist-controlled area.

Reports say that the convoy was fired on again as it returned to western Sirte, and that it was clear that whoever was trying to flee had nowhere else to go.

Gaddaffi was found a short time later in a large storm-water drain, and fighter Mohammed Al Bibi told reporters that the toppled tyrant had pleaded 'Don't shoot, don't shoot' as he attempted to surrender.

He had been wounded in the legs. NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta said: 'He [Gaddafi] was also hit in his head. There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.'

Mobile phone footage, released shortly after the news of his capture broke, appears to show a bloodied Gaddafi being manhandled.

Al Jazeera was also repeatedly showing footage of what appeared to be Gaddafi's shirtless and lifeless body being dragged along the ground.

Double celebration: Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte, but the news soon came that the leader himself had been captured

End of conflict: The fall of Sirte ends the last significant resistance by forces loyal to the deposed leader, and ends a two-month siege

Rebels said he had been armed with a golden handgun when he was found and was wearing a khaki uniform. Later images showed young revolutionary soldiers sheering an holding a golden handgun.

Gaddafi and his family have been on the run since Nato and rebel forces started closing the net on Tripoli in mid-August.

The reports of Gaddafi's capture came on the same day that revolutionary forces said that they had taken control of Sirte - the leader's home town.

Initial reports from CNN and the National Transitional Council (NTC) said Gaddafi was in custody, while Al Jazeera reported that a ‘big fish’ had been caught but did not provide a name. Al Jazeera later joined Al-Arabiya in saying that Gaddafi had been killed, but did not provide any further information.

Sky News reported that Gaddafi had been wounded in both legs prior to his capture. He was wearing a military-style uniform.

All that's left: A lone revolutionary soldier fires into the air in celebration. Behind him lies the ruins of a town all but destroyed by fighting

Libya's transitional government forces have taken full control of the city - the last stronghold of Gaddafi loyalists. Gaddafi's presence there would explain why fighting had been so intense in the past few weeks.

Al Jazeera reported spontaneous celebration in cities like Benghazi and Tripoli, with people cheering and shouting, car horns sounding and small arms fire being heard.

After weeks of fierce fighting the NTC announced that it had 'taken control' of the city. But as revolutionary forces celebrated in the city, reports came of Gaddafi's capture.

The NTC said that, in the early hours of the morning, at least five cars carrying loyalist fighters attempted to escape the city.

A senior official with Libya's National Transitional Council told Reuters that Gaddafi was captured near his hometown of Sirte at dawn as he tried to flee in a convory that came under attack from NATO warplanes.

Golden trophy: Young Libyans hold a gold-plated handgun belonging to Gaddafi, left, who was last publicly seen as merely an image, right, accompanying an audio message broadcast by Al-Arouba on 1 September

The official also said the head of Gaddafi's armed forces, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr, was killed during the capture of the former Libyan leader.

The NTC said Sirte's fall would be the point at which it would declare Libya liberated. The transitional authorities have said a new government would then be formed within a month, and the current administration would resign.

The U.S. State Department said today it could not confirm that Gaddafi had been captured.

White House officials were not immediately available to comment. The Pentagon also said it could not confirm the reports.

It is understood that Gaddafi’s son Saif has also been captured by rebels.

There were some reports that NATO had bombed a compound shortly before Gaddafi’s reported capture.

Gaddafi's killing is the most dramatic single development in the Arab Spring revolts that have unseated rulers in Egypt and Tunisia, and threatened the grip on power of the leaders of Syria and Yemen.

His capture followed within minutes of the fall of Sirte, a development that extinguished the last significant resistance by forces loyal to the deposed leader.

The capture of Sirte and the death of Gaddafi means Libya's ruling NTC should now begin the task of forging a new democratic system which it had said it would get under way after the city, built as a showpiece for Gaddafi's rule, had fallen.

Gaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of ordering the killing of civilians, was toppled by rebel forces on 23 August after 42 years of one-man rule over the oil-producing North African state.

NTC fighters hoisted the red, black and green national flag above a large utilities building in the centre of a newly-captured Sirte neighbourhood and celebratory gunfire broke out among their ecstatic and relieved comrades.

Hundreds of NTC troops had surrounded the Mediterranean coastal town for weeks in a chaotic struggle that killed and wounded scores of the besieging forces and an unknown number of defenders.

NTC fighters said there were a large number of corpses inside the last redoubts of the Gaddafi troops.

A love for uniforms, female bodyguards and brutal repression

In the end Muammar Gaddafi's end was as violent as his life, gunned down without mercy in the crumbling ruins of his home town.

His love of comic-opera uniforms, exotic female bodyguards and Bedouin tents provided a theatrical backdrop for 42 years of bloody repression that, in the end, could not withstand a determined uprising backed by NATO air power.

Chased out of Tripoli by rebel forces, Gaddafi disappeared - some said into the empty desert spaces in the south of his vast country.

Eccentric style: Gaddafi was known for his love of over-the-top military-style uniforms and a cadre of young female bodyguards who were supposedly trained to kill

In tandem with his eccentricity, Gaddafi had a charisma which initially at least won him support among many ordinary Libyans. His readiness to take on Western powers and Israel, both with rhetoric and action, earned him a certain cachet with some in other Arab states who felt their own leaders were too supine.

While leaders of neighbouring Arab states folded quickly in the face of popular uprisings, Gaddafi put up a bloody fight, taking on NATO as well as local insurgents who quickly seized half the country.

For most of his 42-year rule, he held a prominent position in the West's gallery of international rogues, while maintaining tight control at home by eliminating dissidents and refusing to anoint a successor.

Gaddafi effected a successful rapprochement with the West by renouncing his weapons of mass destruction programme in return for an end to sanctions. But he could not avoid the tide of popular revolution sweeping through the Arab world.

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