Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gadhafi killed, confirms NTC

Bangkok Post

BENGHAZI: Veteran Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi was killed on Thursday as new regime forces crushed the last pocket of resistance in his hometown Sirte, the National Transitional Council said.
"We announce to the world that Gadhafi has died in the custody of the revolution," NTC spokesman Abdel Hafez Ghoga said.

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

The body of Gadhafi, being removed from his hometown in a vehicle. (Reuters photo)
As the news of the fugitive leader's demise spread, thousands of people swarmed to Benghazi's corniche, iconic nerve centre of the revolution, where celebratory gunfire rang out.

Children ran around wrapped in the new Libyan flag while women gave glory to God, thanking him for the death of the strongman who brought "so much suffering to Libya."

Many, visibly shaken, held up posters of relatives lost in battle.

"Libyans raise your heads... You are free," shouted some in jubilation.

"Bye bye, curly," chanted others mocking the flamboyant leader's unruly crown of hair which became a signature of revolutionary humour.

Ghoga said the fugitive former despot's death was "confirmed by our commanders on the ground in Sirte, those who captured him after he had been wounded in the battle for Sirte."

"The tyranny and dictatorship are finally over. The revolutionaries managed to capture the tyrant Gadhafi who met the fate that is reserved to all dictators," said Ghoga.

Local journalists in the room hailed news of the strongman's death, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) as the din of celebratory gunfire and car horns filled the streets outside in the coastal city of Benghazi.

"We also have information that his convoy was bombed by NATO while he was fleeing Sirte. Some reports suggest Gadhafi's son or another important personality were also in the convoy, but we are still checking this," he added.

Sirte field commander Mohammed Leith said one of Gadhafi's sons, Mutassim, was found dead in the city.

Libya's interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil is to declare by Friday that the country has been liberated and give details on Gadhafi's killing, interim premier Mahmud Jibril told reporters in Tripoli.

"With the confirmation that all the evil people, including Gadhafi, have vanished from this beloved country ... it is time for Libyans to start a new country, a united Libya, one people with one future," he said.

Jibril said Seif al-Islam, another of Gadhafi's sons, was believed to be pinned down in a village near Sirte.

"There is fighting going on in Wadi al-Ather," he said. "The revolutionaries have attacked an armed convoy. We suspect that Seif might be in the convoy," he said, referring to the last remaining top figure in Gadhafi's regime.

Sixty-nine-year-old Gadhafi governed Libya with an iron grip for almost 42 years until a February 15 revolt challenged his rule and pushed the country into civil war. He went into hiding after NATO-backed NTC fighters seized Tripoli in August.
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