The end has come for Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled Libya for more than 40 years and over the decades became one of the world’s most notorious dictators and sponsors of terrorism.
He is dead, Libya’s new leadership says.
Earlier today, Libyan fighters took over Sirte, the hometown of the ousted leader.
And then there were unconfirmed reports that he had been captured. Just after 7 a.m. ET, Reuters reported that Gadhafi:
“Has been captured and wounded in both legs, National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid said on Thursday.”
Libyan TV was also reporting that news, al-Jazeera says.
And as the story developed, there were claims that Gadhafi had been killed. Al-Jazeera later reported that “Abdul Hakim Belhaj, a NTC military chief, has confirmed that Muammar Gaddafi has died of his wounds after being captured near Sirte.”
Now, at 10:25 a.m. ET, there’s word from Libya’s new prime minster that Gadhafi is indeed dead.
Even if Gadhafi hadn’t been captured, the fall of Sirte marks a key moment in the months-long war in Libya. Though the Gadhafi regime was effectively toppled over the summer, the former dictator and his supporters had reportedly been making a last stand in Sirte. Now, it would appear the end has come.
Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. Looking Back At Gadhafi:
“Gadhafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for more than four decades,” our colleague Jackie Northam reports in this look back at the dictator’s life. “He was an unpredictable, often brutal leader with a grand vision of himself. In the end, he squandered his country’s wealth and lost the support of his people.”
The New York Times writes that Gadhafi, 69, “was an erratic, provocative dictator with the wardrobe and looks befitting an aging rock star. To thwart potential rivals at home, he sanctioned spasms of grisly violence and frequent bedlam, while on the world stage he sought to leverage his nation’s immense oil wealth into an outsized personal role.
Update at 10:50 a.m. ET. Prime Minister Cameron On The News:
British Prime Minister David Cameron just said this is a day to remember Gadhafi’s victims, including those killed in Lockerbie, Scotland, Sky News reports.
Update at 10:22 a.m. ET. Prime Minister Says GADHAFI IS DEAD:
“Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril says Moammar Gadhafi has been killed,” The Associated Press reports from Tripoli.
Update at 10:15 a.m. ET. AP: Libyan Leaders Have Informed U.S. Of Gadhafi’s Death.
The Associated Press just moved this “alert”: “US official: Libyan leaders have informed US that Gadhafi is dead.”
Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. Video Of The Body?
Al-Jazeera English, which is streaming its coverage here, just broadcast a video clip that it says shows the ousted Libyan leader’s body lying in a street and being kicked and rolled by other men. There hasn’t yet been independent confirmation of the video’s authenticity.
Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. Gadhafi’s End Reportedly Came In Drainage Pipes.
AFP/Getty Images has released a photo that it reports is of the scene where NTC fighters say Gadhafi was discovered. It appears to be a set of drainage pipes under a road.
Update at 9:15 a.m. ET. Al Arabiya Says It Will Photograph Gadhafi’s Body:
The al-Arabiya news network says it has “been granted permission to photograph Muammar Gaddafi’s body.” Note: There are still conflicting reports about Gadhafi’s fate. Obviously, photos taken by journalists would help end any uncertainty.
Update at 9:05 a.m. ET. NTC Official Says ‘Gadhafi Is Dead”.
Sky News has posted audio of NTC spokesman Abdullah Berrassali saying he has been assured by people at the scene in Sirte that Gadhafi is dead.
Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. Liberation:
As The New York Times writes, “if confirmed, the capture or killing of Colonel Qaddafi — along with the fall of Surt — would allow [the country’s new leaders] to declare the country liberated and in control of its borders, and to start a process that would lead to a general election for a national council within eight months.”
Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. Photo Of Gadhafi?
The Guardian is among several news outlets that have posted a photo that purports to show a bloodied Gadhafi after his supposed capture. Note: There’s no confirmation that the person in the image is actually the former Libyan leader.
The Times of London, meanwhile, says that “a pro-Gaddafi TV station/website is denying the reports of his capture or death.”
Update at 8:05 a.m. ET. More Reports Of His Capture, Possible Death:
Reuters is now saying that Gadhafi “died of wounds suffered in his capture near his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, a senior NTC military official said. National Transitional Council [also known as the Transitional National Council] official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters earlier that Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked. ‘He was also hit in his head,’ the official said. ‘There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.’ “
Meanwhile: “AFP news agency quoted another NTC official, Mohamed Leith, as saying that Col Gaddafi had been captured in Sirte and was ‘seriously wounded’ but still breathing,” the BBC reports. “A soldier who says he captured Muammar Gaddafi told the BBC the colonel had shouted: ‘Don’t shoot!’ “