Qaddafi Killed, Say Libyan Officials

Obama: "This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya"

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4:20 pm ET, In Brief: On Thursday, Libyan rebel forces wrested control of Qaddafi's hometown, Sirte, from pro-Qaddafi forces. The former dictator was killed and so was his son, Mutassim. A NATO airstrike, reportedly comprised of French warplanes and a U.S. predator drone, were involved in the attack on Qaddafi's convoy. The Libyan dictator, at one point, was also hiding in what appeared to be a concrete pipe. One rebel fighter was pictured in possession with Qaddafi's golden gun after he found the dictator, who reportedly whispered to him "Don't Shoot." Al Jazeera and Reuters both published very graphic videos and still shots showing a dead Muammar Qaddafi, who appeared to be dragged in the street. His body was reportedly taken to Misrata. Reuters reported that he died a "few minutes" before reaching the hospital. In an afternoon statement, President Obama said that "The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted" in Libya. In the AFP/Getty picture below, photographer Ahmad Al-Rubaye captured Libyan rebels celebrating the milestone in Sirte:

4:00 pm ET: Reuters reports that Libyan's Prime Minster said that Qaddafi "died a few minutes before reaching [the] hospital." In the news agency's very detailed account of the events leading to his death, it quotes a National Transitional Council official who puts it this way:

"They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him," one senior source in the NTC told Reuters. "He might have been resisting."

3:33 pm ET: Fox News, citing a U.S. defense official, says it has learned that a "U.S. Predator drone was involved in the airstrike" on Qaddafi's convoy in Sirte. The Associated Press previously reported that "At one point, a convoy tried to flee and was hit by NATO airstrikes, carried out by French warplanes." (via The Guardian)

3:20 pm ET: Reuters photographer Thaier al-Sudan has images of a destroyed convoy of pro-Qaddafi forces in Sirte and another image of the concrete drain were Qaddafi was reportedly hiding. Earlier today, a Sky News correspondent had translated some of the graffiti on the drain as saying: "This is the place where the rat Gaddafi was hiding."

3:08 pm ET:  NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen statement on Qaddafi's death: "I urge the National Transitional Council to prevent any reprisals against civilians and to show restraint in dealing with defeated pro-Qadhafi forces." Via Reuters.

2:39 pm ET: More from President Obama's remarks on Qaddafi's death via the AP: "The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted," Obama said. "And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility."

2:28 pm ET, In Brief So Far: On Thursday, Libyan rebel forces wrested control of Qaddafi's hometown Sirte, from pro-Qaddafi forces. The former dictator, who at one point appeared to be hiding in a concrete pipe, was killed. Al Jazeera and Reuters then both published very graphic videos and still shots showing a dead Muammar Qaddafi, who appeared to be dragged through the streets. His body was reportedly taken to Misrata. Qaddafi sons Mutassim and Seif al-Islam were also reportedly killed in the fighting.

2:20 pm ET: Below is one scene captured by a Reuters photographer from Sirte, where rebel fighter appears to drag an image of the former dictator behind a pick-up truck. One of the many celebrations marking the milestone today.

2:12 pm ET: In a brief statement, Obama said that the death of Qaddafi marks "the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya," via AP.

1:57 pm ET: President Obama is expected to speak from the White House at 2 pm, you can watch his remarks live right here.

1:56 pm ET:  The Associated Press pieces together the newest details events leading to Qaddafi's death, noting that a French warplane struck the dictator's fleeing convoy:

At one point, a convoy tried to flee and was hit by NATO airstrikes, carried out by French warplanes. France's Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the 80-vehicle convoy was carrying Gadhafi and was trying to escape the city. The strikes stopped the convoy but did not destroy it, and then revolutionary fighters moved in on the vehicle carrying Gadhafi himself.

1:33 pm ET: During a New Hampshire speech, Vice President Joe Biden made these remarks, via the Associated Press: "In this case, America spent $2 billion total and didn't lose a single life. This is more of the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has been in the past."

1:27 pm ET: BBC News relays that Amnesty International has called for the Libyan transitional government to make public information about how Qaddafi died, "making the full facts available to the Libyan people." There was a widely circulated video showing Qaddafi appearing to be alive before being killed.

1:18 pm ET: A new detail about the discovery of the Libyan dictator: "We did not know Qaddafi was there until he shot at us first," said National Transitional Council fighter, as reported by Al Arabiya (via The Telegraph). Earlier, there were reports and photos of the Libyan dictator's hiding place: a concrete pipe.

1:08 pm ET:  The Associated Press speaks to a doctor who was a part of the medical team that examined Qaddafi, and his appraisal was that the dictator died "from two bullet wounds, to the head and chest."

1:02 pm ET: Nothing seems confirmed but Qaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, is said to have been killed, reports Al Arabiya. Earlier today there were conflicting reports about his status, with Reuters recently reporting that he "is trying to flee Sirte in a small convoy."

12:53 pm ET:  "We confirm that all the evils, plus Gaddafi, have vanished from this beloved country," Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said in Tripoli as relayed by Reuters. "It's time to start a new Libya, a united Libya ... One people, one future."

12:49 pm ET: President Obama will be making a statement about Qaddafi's death at 2 pm, the Associated Press relays.

12:35 ET: A newly uploaded, very graphic video appears to show Qaddafi, in the moments before his death, resisting Libyan rebels, via @mpoppel and The Washington Post:

12:15 pm ET, In Summary So Far: On Thursday, Libyan rebel forces wrested control of Qaddafi's hometown Sirte, from pro-Qaddafi forces. Unconfirmed reports surfaced that Libyan forces had captured Qaddafi, who appeared to be hiding in a concrete pipe. One rebel fighter now appears in possession of Qaddafi's golden gun after he found the dictator, who reportedly whispered to him "Don't Shoot." Al Jazeera and Reuters then both published very graphic videos and still shots appearing to show a dead Muammar Qaddafi, who appeared to be dragged through the streets. His body was reportedly taken to Misrata. The former dictators son Mutassim was also killed in the fighting, but Seif al-Islam appears to be still fleeing.

12:06 pm ET: Reuters has more information about the death of Qaddafi's son, Mutassim. "Mo'tassim was killed by the fighters. He was trying to fight back and he was resisting them," said an official to the news outlet. Another Qaddafi son, Seif al-Islam, "is trying to flee Sirte in a small convoy," said the same official to Reuters.

11:54 am ET: NATO states will now be discussing an adjustment in the military mission post-Qaddafi, The Guardian reports: "A military assessment of the current situation in Libya and a recommendation for the wrapping up of the Nato operation is on its way to Nato HQ. This will most likely prompt a special meeting of the North Atlantic Council tomorrow to consider the recommendation and decide on the future of the current mission." Earlier today, The Wall Street Journal cited an alliance official who relayed that "With the end of resistance in the Libyan city of Sirte, the NATO supreme commander will likely recommend an end to the alliance’s air war over the country."

11:49 am ET: UK's Prime Minister David Cameron's statement on Qaddafi, referencing the victims of the Lockerbie bomber, via The Telegraph:

I think today is a day to remember all of Colonel Gaddafi's victims, from those who died in connection with the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, to Yvonne Fletcher in a London street, and obviously all the victims of IRA terrorism who died through their use of Libyan semtex. We should also remember the many, many Libyans who died at the hands of this brutal dictator and his regime.

11:41 am ET:  Below is the first moment where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton learned about the unconfirmed Qaddafi news on her cell phone in preparation for an interview, her response is quick: "Wow."

11:35 am ET: Reuters has now posted the uncut, unnarrated video that contained some of the images that were released earlier of a dead Qaddafi. The video is very graphic.

11:25 am ET: Libyan rebels soldiers celebrate in Sirte after overtaking the former dictator's hometown and killing Qaddafi, via Reuters wire images:

11:02 am ET: On the status of Qaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, BBC News is relaying that Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril is saying that "he has unconfirmed reports that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is in a convoy fleeing Sirte - that sounds different to earlier speculation that Saif al-Islam was roaming the desert." We noted an earlier report carried by The Guardian's live blog that said Seif al-Islam was killed. A Reuters report says he is "believed to be still at large in Libya's desert."

10:55 am ET:  Qaddafi's body was earlier reported to be transferred to Misrata, and the AP's Hadeel Al-Shalchi learns that he'll "receive [an] Islamic burial" and probably be buried in Misrata. [via Breaking News]

10:53 am ET: The Associated Press has more details on the circumstances of Qaddafi's last few hours: "Initial reports from fighters said Gadhafi was holed up with the remnants of his forces in the last few buildings they held in Sirte. At one point, a convoy tried to flee and was blasted by NATO airstrikes. It's not clear if Gadhafi died there or in the buildings."

10:41 am ET: Qaddafi's son Mutassim is now said to have been killed, CNN relays. Another son, Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, was just reported to have been killed in a NATO airstrike days ago, according to Channel 4 News's Jonathan Rugman and via The Guardian. [Update 11:13 am ET: Seif al-Islam is reportedly alive, relays BBC News]

10:39 am ET: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comments on word about Qaddafi's death, saying: "If they [the NTC] know that he is no longer a threat to them I think that will actually ease the transition process to a new government," via The Telegraph.

10:34 am ET:  The Wall Street Journal updates NATO's air campaign status in Libya post-Qaddafi: "With the end of resistance in the Libyan city of Sirte, the NATO supreme commander will likely recommend an end to the alliance’s air war over the country, according to an alliance official."

10:33 am ET: "In an update bearing an 'urgent' caption, pro-NTC Libya TV reports that Col Gaddafi's body has arrived in Misrata," BBC News relays. Earlier reports by Reuters had explained that Qaddafi's body was being transferred to a secret location in Misrata.

10:23 am ET: Below is another angle of the concrete piping that Qaddafi was apparently hiding in before he was found by rebel forces. The graffiti above the pipe, as translated by a Sky News correspondent via The Guardian, reads in part: "This is the place where the rat Gaddafi was hiding." [AFP photographer Philippe Desmazes/Getty Images]

10:20 am ET:  The Associated Press is now reporting that "Libyan leaders have informed the U.S. that Gadhafi is dead." There doesn't appear to be an official confirmation from the State Department.

10:12 am ET:  The Telegraph points to this image made available by Reuters showing Qaddafi's body. The photo's description says it was taken from video footage. A Reuters brief cites Al Jazeera footage "clearly showing the body of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi being dragged by rebels along a street."

10:03 am ET: CNN speaks with a U.S. State Department official who can't confirm that Qaddafi has been killed but says it "looks like he's been killed."

9:58 am ET:  Al Jazeera is now showing footage of Muammar Qaddafi dead:

9:48 am ET: Pictured below is a man claiming to hold what was reportedly once Qaddafi's golden gun. The Guardian points to this image, available via AFP and Getty Images, that's described as "Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters carry a young man holding what they claim to be the gold-plated gun of ousted Libyan leader." A BBC correspondent reported earlier that the man found Qaddafi hiding, and the leader said to him: "Don't Shoot."

9:35 am ET:  Pictured below is the hole where Qaddafi was reportedly captured/killed. It was taken by the AFP's Philippe Desmazes and made available via Getty Images. The photo is described: "A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter looks through a large concrete pipe where ousted Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi was allegedly captured, with a dead loyalist gunmen in the foreground."

9:25 am ET: The dictator's son was also reported captured. National Transitional Council's information minister, Mahmoud Shammam, tells Reuters: "Our information from the commanders in the field is that Mo'tassim Gaddafi has been captured alive in Sirte."

9:22 am ET:  Al Jazeera relays that Qaddafi "was shot in the head after fighters surrounded the hole he was found hiding in." Al Jazeera English has already posted an obituary video clip about the dictator here.

9:19 am ET:  "The war, it's finished," one fighter told the Associated Press about capturing Qaddafi's home town, Sirte.

9:16 am ET: Reuters updates information on Qaddafi's body being transported to a secret location: "Al Arabiya says Gaddafi's corpse arrived in Misrata, says will be allowed to film it, citing correspondent."

9:11 am ET:  The BBC News live account has a report purportedly from a fighter who took Qaddafi's golden pistol after finding him hiding out in a hole (via the Times Lede):


A fighter in Sirte has told the BBC his account of the reported capture. Mohammed, a young fighter in his 20s, wearing a blue T-shirt and a New York Yankees baseball cap, said he had found the colonel hiding in a hole in the ground in the city of Sirte. He told the BBC that the former Libyan leader said to him simply: "Don't shoot"

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    The young fighter was brandishing a golden pistol which he said belonged to Col Gaddafi. He was hoisted up onto the shoulders of his comrades in celebration. "Allah Akbar" ("God is great") they chanted as they unleashed volley after volley of bullets into the air.

9:09 am ET: UK's The Telegraph relays the statement from National Transitional Council spokesperson Abdel Hafez Ghoga about the Libyan dictator's death: "We announce to the world that Kadhafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution. It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Kadhafi has met his fate."

9:04 am ET: The latest updates from BBC News live and CNN say that the State Department and NATO haven't confirmed that Qaddafi has been killed. The Associated Press writes that "White House officials are monitoring reports that Moammar Gadhafi has been captured in Libya, but are unable to confirm the status of the former Libyan leader."

8:53 am ET: The Guardian relays this from an NTC soldier to Sky News: "'Somebody shot him with a 9mm.' Another soldier says he was shot in the belly."

8:50 am ET:  Reuters is leading with a banner citing a National Transitional Council official saying that the body of Qaddafi is "being taken to a secret location for security reasons. "

8:45 am ET:  The Associated Press, Guardian and CNN are pointing to a NATO strike on fleeing pro-Qaddafi convoy loyalists, but are refraining from saying "whether the ousted Libyan leader was in the convoy or possibly killed or captured," as the AP wrote.

8:35 am ET:  This is the alleged photograph of a critically wounded Qaddafi circulated by the AFP via Twitter. The Wall Street Journal adds another source to the reports: "Misrata Military Council, which claimed to have captured Col. Moammar Gadhafi today, says he has died in custody."

Foto del mensaje

8:12 am ET:  Reuters adds new information about Qaddafi, with no confirmation from the U.S. State Department about the news. "He was also hit in his head," and National Transitional Council official told the news outlet. "There was a lot of firing against his group and he died."

7:55 am ET: The latest Reuters Flash now says that Qaddafi has died from wounds according to a National Transitional Council official. Al Jazeera is also saying the same thing. Nothing appears confirmed yet.

7:40 am ET:  From Reuters: "Libyan govt fighter says Gaddafi was hiding in a hole in Sirte, shouting "don't shoot, don't shoot". It also adds in a later tweet that "U.S. State Department says it cannot confirm media reports of Gaddafi's capture."

7:30 am ET: After the capture of Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown, Libyan rebels are now saying they have captured Muammar Qaddafi, says Libyan state television relayed by CNN, cautioning that the report couldn't be confirmed. NPR's Twitter authority Andy Carvin relays from Al Jazeera that a Former Libyan Information Minister says Qaddafi was captured. He also added that the reports aren't confirmed.

On Thursday, Libyan rebels captured the residential area of Sirte, the hometown of dictator Muammar Qaddafi and described by the Associated Press as the "last major resistance by former regime supporters still holding out two months after the fall of the capital Tripoli." Earlier in the week the stronghold of Bani Wald was slowly taken, and rebel forces eventually cornered Qaddafi forces into a 700 square meter area, the AP reported. Reuters, citing witnesses in the area, wrote that Libyan forces raised the new flag in the center of the city above a large utilities building while celebratory gunfire broke out. The Guardian points to this screenshot below from Al Jazeera showing one fighter hoisting the flag:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.