20 October 2011 Last updated at
Libya's Muammar Gaddafi 'killed'
BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Sirte: "I have spoken to the man who says that he captured him... he was brandishing a golden pistol"
Libya's ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his home town of Sirte, officials from the transitional authorities have said.
Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said fighters had told him they had seen Col Gaddafi's body, and other officials also said he was dead.
The claims have not yet been independently verified, and other reports said he was captured alive.
The colonel was toppled in August after 42 years in power.
The International Criminal Court has been seeking his arrest.
Nato, which has been running a bombing campaign in Libya for months, said it had carried out an air strike earlier on Thursday that hit two pro-Gaddafi vehicles near Sirte.
Al-Jazeera TV broadcast footage it says showed Col Gaddafi's body
It was unclear whether the strikes were connected with the reports of Col Gaddafi's death.
Mr Shammam said NTC leaders would officially confirm Col Gaddafi's death later.
"He was killed in an attack by the fighters. There is footage of that," he said.
Grainy video footage has been circulating among NTC fighters appearing to show Col Gaddafi's corpse.
The video shows a large number of NTC fighters yelling in chaotic scenes around a khaki-clad body, which has blood oozing from the face and neck.
At the scene
BBC News, Tripoli
Driving into the centre of Tripoli, there are throngs of people out on the streets - men, women and children - many hugging each other and chanting. Gunshots can be heard firing into the air - despite a religious edict banning the practice. Car horns are blaring and many vehicles have their emergency lights blinking.
At some checkpoints, security officials are handing out what have been dubbed "revolutionary mints" and biscuits.
All the flags are out. People are genuinely convinced this is the end of Col Gaddafi. They felt that even in hiding he posed a threat to the revolution - but for them this news means the authorities can now start to rebuild the country.
Another video broadcast by al-Jazeera TV showed a body being dragged through the streets which the channel said was that of Col Gaddafi.
NTC official Abdel Hafez Ghoga told AFP: "We announce to the world that Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution.
"It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Gaddafi has met his fate."
An NTC fighter told the BBC he found Col Gaddafi hiding in a hole in Sirte, and the former leader begged him not to shoot.
The fighter showed reporters a golden pistol he said he had taken from Col Gaddafi.
Arabic TV channels showed images of troops surrounding two large drainage pipes where the reporters said Col Gaddafi was found.
NTC supporters gathered in towns and cities to celebrate the reports of the colonel's death.
Groups of young men fired guns in the air, and drivers honked horns in celebration.
His apparent death came after weeks of fierce fighting for Sirte, one of the last remaining pockets of resistance.
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Former Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi is reportedly killed, NTC spokesmen says, but there is no official announcement.
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Colonel Gaddafi Killed, NTC Official Says
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All Comments 287
Comment number 255.
16 Minutes ago
If this is true then I'm not surprised. Though it just proves that the new regime coming in has got a lot to prove, I am deeply saddened that he was not taken alive, but such is the world. I'm sure the Libyan people will feel that justice has been done, lets hope its the exception and not the rule.
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Comment number 248.
18 Minutes ago
If this is true, I am sickened by the picture of the bloodied Gaddafi. He was an evil man but whatever happened to the rebels noble cause to overthrow a mad dictator and uphold peace and justice? Where was the trial, like Saddam Hussain had? There is no justice in beating a terrified and defenceless man senseless like animals. It cannot be justified. Not that I blame the rebels for hating him.
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Comment number 182.
41 Minutes ago
I suppose the official line is that a bad dictator has been removed. A good dictator to replace him perhaps? Whatever, he will be remembered in many places as a martyr, a leader who stood against the combined might of Nato, even a Guevara of the Arab World, not as a Bin Laden perhaps. .
So now begins the shambles of British Taxpayers aiding the new dictatorship. On it goes.
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Comment number 168.
43 Minutes ago
Congratulations to the people of Libya. Now the hard work really starts, to be truly free you need to build a free democratic state which can last.
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Comment number 165.
44 Minutes ago
It is a great victory for africa
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