Thursday, October 20, 2011
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the former Libyan strongman who fled into hiding after rebels toppled his regime two months ago in the Arab Spring’s most violent uprising, was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his loyalist forces wrested control of his hometown of Surt, the interim government announced.
Al-Jazeera television showed what it said was Colonel Qaddafi’s corpse as jubilant fighters in Surt fired automatic weapons in the air, punctuating what appeared to be an emphatic and violent ending to his four decades as the self-proclaimed king of kings of Africa.
Libyans rejoiced as news of his death spread. Car horns blared in Tripoli as residents poured into the streets to celebrate.
Mahmoud Shammam, the chief spokesman of the Transitional National Council, the interim government that replaced Colonel Qaddafi’s regime after he fled Tripoli in late August, confirmed that Colonel Qaddafi was killed, though he did not provide other details.
“A new Libya is born today,” he said. “This is the day of real liberation. We were serious about giving him a fair trial. It seems God has some other wish.”
It was not clear precisely how he died. Some reports, which could not be verified, recounted that Colonel Qaddafi was arrested, wounded by gunshots and died in custody.
Libya’s interim leaders had said they believed that some Qaddafi family members including the colonel himself and some of his sons had been hiding in Surt or in Bani Walid, another loyalist bastion that the anti-Qaddafi forces captured earlier this week.
(Via The New York Times)