Gaddafi killed as his hometown falls

October 20, 2011 2:22 pm
Shares

,

An AFP photograph of a mobile phone camera image shows what appears to be a bloodied Gaddafi during his capture
SIRTE, Oct 20 – Veteran Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi was killed Thursday by new regime forces in their final assault on the last pocket of resistance in his hometown Sirte, a National Transitional Council spokesman said.

“We announce to the world that Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution,” Abdel Hafez Ghoga said in the eastern city of Benghazi.

“It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Kadhafi has met his fate,” he added.

Another NTC commander, said one of Gaddafi’s sons, Mutassim, was also killed in Sirte.

“We found him dead. We put his body and that of (former defence minister) Abu Bakr Yunis Jabar in an ambulance to take them to Misrata,” said Mohamed Leith.

NTC fighters who had fought in the bloody seven-month conflict that toppled the veteran despot at a cost of more than 25,000 lives, erupted in jubilation at the news, which followed earlier reports that Gaddafi had been captured.

A photograph taken on a mobile phone appeared to show the 69-year-old Kadhafi, toppled by NTC fighters in August, heavily bloodied.

In the poor-quality image, Gaddafi is seen with blood-soaked clothing and blood daubed across his face.

A video circulating among NTC fighters in Sirte showed mobile phone footage of what appeared to be Gaddafi’s bloodied corpse.

In the grainy images seen by an AFP correspondent, a large number of NTC fighters are seen yelling in chaotic scenes around a khaki-clad body which has blood oozing from the face and neck.

The body is then dragged off by the fighters and loaded in the back of a pick-up truck.

News of Gaddafi’s death came as new regime troops overran the last redoubt of his loyalists in Sirte, bringing to an end a two-month siege.

Fighters moving in from east and west overcame the last resistance in the city’s Number Two residential neighbourhood where his diehard supporters had been holed up.

The defence minister in Gaddafi’s ousted regime, Abu Bakr Yunis, was killed in the last battle, medics said.

“Sirte has been liberated, and with the confirmation that Kadhafi is dead,” Libya has been completely liberated, a top NTC military official, Khalifa Haftar, told AFP in Tripoli.

“Those who were fighting with Kadhafi have either been killed or captured,” he added.

Pick-up trucks blaring out patriotic music criss-crossed the streets of Sirte Thursday afternoon, as fighters flashed V for victory signs and chanted Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest).

A lot of pickup trucks are playing the new national anthem and other revolutionary songs.

“I am happy we have got revenge for our people who suffered for all these years and for those who were killed in the revolution. Gaddafi is finished,” said fighter Talar al-Kashmi.

Gaddafi was wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity by Libyan leaders have said they want him to be put on trial in his home country.

A pro-Kadhafi television website however insisted the strongman remained at liberty.

“The reports peddled by the lackeys of NATO about the capture or death of the brother leader, Muammar Gaddafi, are baseless,” said Al-Libiya television.

Gaddafi “is in good health,” it insisted.

In Brussels, a NATO spokesman said two alliance aircraft on Thursday morning struck two pro-Gaddafi military vehicles near Sirte.

“At approximately 0830 local time (GMT+2) today, NATO aircraft struck two pro-Gaddafi forces military vehicles which were part of a larger group manoeuvring in the vicinity of Sirte,” NATO spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie said in a statement.

A NATO diplomat said checks were under way to verify reports by the NTC that the convoy in which Gaddafi was travelling was stopped by NATO strikes, and that the ousted despot was injured and captured at that time.

At NATO’s Brussels headquarters, the alliance said it had “nothing to say” formally.

News of Gaddafi’s death came as NTC troops overran the last redoubt of his loyalists in Sirte, bringing to an end a two-month siege.

Fighters moving in from east and west overcame the last resistance in the city’s Number Two residential neighbourhood where his diehard supporters had been holed up.

The defence minister in Gaddafi’s ousted regime, Abu Bakr Yunis, was killed in the last battle, medics.

“Sirte is free. The whole of Libya is free,” said Khaled Ballam, field commander of the February 17 Brigade, which took part in the final assault.

“We had some clashes but there was no fierce resistance as many Gaddafi fighters were trying to escape rather than fight because they had no other option. The game is over.”

Abdul Matlub Saleh, a fighter from the February 17 Brigade, said: “Every inch of the city is liberated. Our people are spread everywhere. There is no fighting. The gunfire that you are hearing is all celebrations.”

Medics said that at least three NTC fighters were killed and 30 wounded on Thursday after 18 were killed and around 180 wounded the previous two days.

The death of Gaddafi and the fall of Sirte mark a milestone. Libya’s new rulers had said that only once Sirte had fallen would they declare the country’s liberation and begin the transition to an elected government.

In the end loyalist forces were limited to a tiny enclave of less than a square kilometre (0.4 square miles) which had been completely cut off by the besieging NTC forces who controlled the entire seafront of the Mediterranean coastal city as well as all of its landward sides.

Sirte once had 100,000 inhabitants, almost all of whom have fled. Fierce artillery battles and heavy gunfire over the past month have not left a single building intact, while looting has become commonplace as NTC fighters take their revenge on the Kadhafi bastion.

Among the few natives of Sirte in NTC ranks, anger at the destruction wreaked on their home city by their comrades runs deep.

“We are not happy about what has been happening in our city. It is the only city that is getting so much destruction,” said Ibrahim Alazhry.

Shares

Latest Articles

Most Viewed