News / Africa

Libya's Gadhafi Shot to Death in Sirte

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrated the fall of Sirte October 20, 2011.
Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrated the fall of Sirte October 20, 2011.

Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed in an assault by provisional government forces on his hometown of Sirte.

Gadhafi was 69 years old.  He had ruled Libya for more than 40 years.

The prime minister of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, confirmed Gadhafi's death.  At a news conference in Tripoli, Mr. Jibril said it is now time for all Libyans to build a new, united Libya.

Diplomats say NATO members will meet Friday in Brussels to discuss ending their six-month air campaign in Libya, which began as a move to protect Libyan civilians from attacks by Gadhafi loyalists.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said a French warplane participating in a NATO mission attacked a Gadhafi convoy as the former leader and his remaining loyalists tried to escape from Sirte Thursday.

NTC ground forces pursuing the convoy found Gadhafi hiding in a sewage pipe on the city's outskirts. Video from the scene broadcast worldwide showed NTC soldiers carrying a wounded and bleeding Gadhafi shortly before he died of gunshot wounds.  It is not clear who shot him.

A Look at Sirte, Libya

Libya's provisional government fighters have gained control of Sirte, a move that could allow the National Transitional Council (NTC) to say the country is fully liberated. Here are some facts about Sirte.

  • Hometown of former leader Moammar Gadhafi and has been a stronghold for his supporters
  • Located about 360 kilometers east of Tripoli. It has about 100,000 residents.
  • Small fishing village, but after Mr. Gadhafi became Libya's leader in 1969, he began promoting it as a second capital.
  • Became Libya's only significant stronghold for Gadhafi loyalists on Monday, after NTC fighters gained control of the desert town of Bani Walid.
  • NTC officials have said the capture of Sirte would allow them to declare the country liberated, because it would mean the provisional government controlled all of Libya's ports and harbors.
  • NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jabril has said he will step down once Sirte is liberated.

Jubilant crowds filled the streets of Tripoli to celebrate Gadhafi's demise and the fall of Sirte. NTC fighters also celebrated, firing shots into the air and hoisting Libya's new national flag over what was the last stronghold of Gadhafi loyalists.

Libya's information minister said one of Gadhafi's sons, Mutassim, also died in Sirte on Thursday.  Prime Minister Jibril said NTC fighters have been pursuing another Gadhafi son, Saif al-Islam, believed to be in a village near Sirte.

Provisional government forces besieged Sirte for weeks, but had been met with fierce resistance by heavily armed Gadhafi loyalists.

Jibril says the NTC will formally announce by Friday that Libya has been completely liberated from Gadhafi's rule.

The uprising against Gadhafi began in Libya in February, led by activists declaring it was time to end Gadhafi's 42-year hold on the country.  Week by week the rebellion advanced, until Gadhafi lost control of Tripoli in August and fled from his capital.

Video from Sirte:

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