CBS/AP/ October 20, 2011, 4:57 PM
Qaddafi dead after Sirte battle, PM confirms
PLAY CBS NEWS VIDEO
Fugitive Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was killed in fighting around his hometown Thursday, Libya's prime minister confirmed after hours of speculation surrounding his death.
"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Qaddafi has been killed," Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference in the capital Tripoli.
Libyan fighters captured Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown and the last bastion of loyalist resistance, earlier Thursday. Shortly after, reports of Qaddafi's capture and subsequent death began to swirl.
The 69-year-old Qaddafi is the first leader to be killed in the Arab Spring wave of popular uprisings that swept the Midde East, demanding the end of autocratic rulers and greater democracy. Qaddafi had been one of the world's most mercurial leaders, dominating Libya with a regime that often seemed run by his whims and bringing international condemnation and isolation on his country for years.
His death decisively ends a regime that had turned Libya into an international pariah and ran the oil-rich nation by the whims and brutality of its notoriously eccentric leader. Libya now enters a new era, but its turmoil may not be over. The former rebels who now rule are disorganized, face rebuilding a country stripped of institutions, and have already shown signs of infighting, with divisions between geographical areas and Islamist and more secular ideologies.
Initial reports from fighters said Qaddafi had been barricaded in with his heavily armed loyalists in the last few buildings they held in his Mediterranean coastal hometown of Sirte, furiously battling with revolutionary fighters closing in on them Thursday. At one point, a convoy tried to flee the area and was blasted by NATO airstrikes, but Jibril specified Qaddafi was not killed by the strike. Most accounts agreed Qaddafi was shot to death by fighters.
Arab satellite TV stations have broadcast a video showing Qaddafi captured alive by revolutionary forces. (Watch at left - Warning: Graphic content.)
The video shows a wounded Qaddafi with a blood-soaked shirt and bloodied face leaning up against the hood of a truck and restrained by fighters. They then push him toward another car, as he shouts and struggles against them.
Later, fighters in Sirte rolled Qaddafi's body on the pavement, according to footage aired on Al-Jazeera, TV. The goaded Qaddafi was stripped to the waist and his head was bloodied. (Watch below - Warning: Graphic content.)
The body was then paraded through the streets of the nearby city of Misrata on top of a vehicle surrounded by a large crowd chanting, "The blood of the martyrs will not go in vain," according to footage aired on Al-Arabiya television. The fighters who killed Qaddafi are believed to have come from Misrata, a city that suffered a brutal weeks-long siege by Qaddafi's forces during the eight-month long civil war.
Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a doctor who was part of the medical team that accompanied the body in the ambulance to Misrata, said Qaddafi died from two bullet wounds, to the head and chest.
"You can't imagine my happiness today. I can't describe my happiness," he told The Associated Press. "The tyranny is gone. Now the Libyan people can rest."
A cell phone picture reportedly taken in Sirte apparently shows Qaddafi covered in blood. (Warning: Photo contains graphic content.)
Imad Moustaf, a rebel fighter who said he witnessed Qaddafi's death, told GlobalPost's James Foley that Qaddafi was shot in the head and near his heart on the outskirts of Sirte. Moustaf said the former leader had been hiding in a hole surrounded by bodyguards.
Another fighter told the BBC that Qaddafi yelled out "don't shoot" after being discovered.
According to the Telegraph's Ben Farmer, who has been to the site in Sirte where Qaddafi was allegedly found, Qaddafi and his bodyguards had taken refuge in a drain after their convoy was struck by a NATO airstrike and were discovered there by TNC fighters.
NATO did acknowledge it hit a convoy of Qaddafi's loyalists fleeing Sirte on Thursday morning "which were part of a larger group maneuvering in the vicinity of Sirte." France's defense minister later confirmed it was a French jet that opened fire on the convoy.
Clinton spoke before the U.S. was informed that Qaddafi had been confirmed dead.
The death of Muammar Qaddafi
Celebratory gunfire and cries of "Allahu Akbar" or "God is Great" rang out across the capital Tripoli. Cars honked their horns and people hugged each other. In Sirte, the ecstatic former rebels celebrated the city's fall after weeks of bloody siege by firing endless rounds into the sky, pumping their guns, knives and even a meat cleaver in the air and singing the national anthem.
Libya's new leaders had said they would declare the country's "liberation" after the fall of Sirte.
The death of Qaddafi adds greater solidity to that declaration.
It rules out a scenario that some had feared -- that he might flee deeper into Libya's southern deserts and lead a resistance campaign against Libya's rulers. Libya's Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said one of Qaddafi's son, Muatassim, was also killed in Sirte. Justice Minister Mohammad al-Alagi said that another Qaddafi son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, was captured wounded by revolutionary fighters and is in a hospital. Al-Alagi said he had sustained a gunshot wound to the leg.
Sirte's fall caps weeks of heavy, street-by-street fighting as revolutionary fighters besieged the city. Despite the fall of Tripoli on Aug. 21, Qaddafi loyalists mounted fierce resistance in several areas, including Sirte, preventing Libya's new leaders from declaring full victory in the eight-month civil war. Earlier this week, revolutionary fighters gained control of one stronghold, Bani Walid.
By Tuesday, fighters said they had squeezed Qaddafi's forces in Sirte into a residential area of about 700 square yards but were still coming under heavy fire from surrounding buildings.
In an illustration of how heavy the fighting has been, it took the anti-Qaddafi fighters two days to capture a single residential building.
Reporters at the scene watched as the final assault began around 8 a.m. Thursday and ended about 90 minutes later. Just before the battle, about five carloads of Qaddafi loyalists tried to flee the enclave down the coastal highway that leads out of the city. But they were met by gunfire from the revolutionaries, who killed at least 20 of them.
(Below is a graphic video from Global Post also showing Qaddafi after his capture.)
The Misrata Military Council, one of the command groups, said its fighters captured Qaddafi.
Another commander, Abdel-Basit Haroun, said Qaddafi was killed when the airstrike hit the fleeing convoy.
One fighter who said he was at the battle told AP Television News that the final fight took place at an opulent compound for visiting dignitaries built by Qaddafi's regime. Adel Busamir said the convoy tried to break out but after being hit it turned back and re-entered the compound. Several hundred fighters assaulted.
"We found him there," Busamir said. "We saw them beating him (Qaddafi) and someone shot him with a 9mm pistol ... then they took him away."
Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Bani in Tripoli told Al-Jazeera TV that a wounded Qaddafi "tried to resist (revolutionary forces) so they took him down."
"I reassure everyone that this story has ended and this book has closed," he said.
After the battle, revolutionaries began searching homes and buildings looking for any hiding Qaddafi fighters. At least 16 were captured, along with cases of ammunition and trucks loaded with weapons. Reporters saw revolutionaries beating captured Qaddafi men in the back of trucks and officers intervening to stop them.
In the central quarter where Thursday's final battle took place, the fighters looking like the same ragtag force that started the uprising eight months ago jumped up and down with joy and flashed V-for-victory signs. Some burned the green Qaddafi flag, then stepped on it with their boots.
They chanted "Allah akbar," or "God is great" in Arabic, while one fighter climbed a traffic light pole to unfurl the revolution's flag, which he first kissed. Discarded military uniforms of Qaddafi's fighters littered the streets. One revolutionary fighter waved a silver trophy in the air while another held up a box of firecrackers, then set them off.
"Our forces control the last neighborhood in Sirte," Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya's interim National Transitional Council, told The Associated Press in Tripoli. "The city has been liberated."
© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Syrian family lives under constant attack
Only 20 percent of citizens remain in one of the first neighborhoods to rise up against Syria's President Assad. Elizabeth Palmer reports on one family that lives there under the constant threat of attack from the Syrian army.
Everything to Lose
A mother torments the man she says killed her daughter, but can she get him to confess? Richard Schlesinger reports.
North Korea: Stories of escape
S. Korea to pull all workers from Kaesong complex
Hitler's food taster tells of poisoning fears
38 dead in Russian psychiatric hospital fire
Race for survivors at Bangladesh factory collapse site
U.S.: Syria has likely used chemical weapons
Accused Boston bombers' parents talk to U.S. authorities
Boston suspects' mom describes son Dzhokhar's condition
<a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20130426185656/http://www.omniture.com/" title="Web Analytics"><img src="https://web.archive.org/web/20130426185656im_/http://cbsdigitalmedia.112.2o7.net/b/ss/cbscbsnewscomatlantisuat/1/H.21--NS/0" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt=""/></a>
I posted some videos about Sirte victory and the finish of the regime of dictator:
Who's confirming it? A real representative of Libya or a us puppet? Because the us and corporate media lie so much about so many things it's a safe bet that they are lying now.
As usual they give no hard evidence of his death, just shaky videos and obvious photo shop fakes. I won't be the least bit surprise to see Gaddafi is still alive and well.
What will happen is the opposite of what they did with Bin Laden. They ignored the fact he was dead 10 years before he was "killed" last May. Now they will ignore the fact Gaddafi is still alive despite all the reports on the net.
You just don't get it do you? You think #OWS/Occupy America is going to go away ... it not ... we have had enough of corporate media lies and lies from the war criminals in Washington. There are a lot of us that are not nearly as stupid as you hope.
The graphic images are absolutely UNNECESSARY!!
It angers me that some poeple believe those grusome images convey better news. Big shame in the way the U.S. media deliver news.
Please do not show that video again showing him being killed. Isn't it bad enough that we have to hear about all of this without seeing it! Thank God my kids were not up to view that. It is not necessary to show the graphic images. People see enough of gruesome things in this world without this. Please have some class and don't show that sort of thing.
I agree. I think it's way over the top to show these images. Perhaps such gore and graphic scenes increase website page hits and fictionalised dramas on TV (such as CSI) rate thru the roof showing characters all smashed up and bloodies ... but when it's a real person - like an actual human being - it is stomach turning.
Gadaffi was not a character in a story arc or in a plotline that's going to be neatly wrapped up at the end of the episode.
As despicable as Gadaffi was, he was still a real human being. A person.
It's impossible to try to just read the story without the images being shoved in your face by the news media. I just want the facts. I don't want or need the blood and guts that goes with it.
Perhaps there are people out there who enjoy news that dehumanises people & turns them into nothing more than entertainment fodder, sound bytes and neat 20" news clips.
I agree with you Jane. We don't need to see these horrendously graphic images of a dead person.
notblu what part of the difference between $1.2 billion spent in Libya and the $4 trillion that Iraq and Afghanistan will cost don't you understand? I can see that Obama is trying to extricate us from the Bush quagmire that he started based on lies and personal feelings.
And don't think that I am not out on the street EVERY WEEK protesting the wars. Also am protesting Obama's corporate energy policy.
There are many things Obama has done wrong and can legitimately be challenged on - but not on the results in Libya. Actual results against an actual terrorist leader on the cheap with no American military casualties and a full-strentgh international coalition instead of us carrying all the load.
Well done on this one.
notblu, Obama did not engage us in endless occupations that will end up costing us at least $4 trillion. Obama is doing what the Bush Crime Family should have done: give strategic donations to the proper people and use highly trained military squads to do counter terrorism (instead of sending the entire US Army in to go after 3 people.
It is the difference between being an incompetent, reactionary, yahoo, cowboy right winger (Bush) and an educated, intelligent, thinking, progressive commander (Obama). It is like night and day.
Obama carried on those occupations and even expanded them in Afghanistan and libya, if you call Bush incompetent then you must call Obama the same. THe trouble with partisan extremists like you is your blinding purposeful ignorance has no basis in truth and fact, it is soley based on hatred for Bush and fellow conservative Americans notblu - we never had an "occupation" in Libya. Obama did expand forces in Afghanistan as we drew down in Iraq because he believed (correctly) that al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan and we had failed to go after them.
As for "partisan extremism" being a prism, of course it is. But that said, Bush launched the wars in Afghanistan (as he should have) and in Iraq (where he probably should not have) and it wasn't until the surge in Iraq that we saw some real progress at getting things resolved. Obama changed the strategy in all three places (including Libya) and has seen fairly quick and effective results in two. Afghanistan is still a problem, but at least we got Bin Laden which was the reason we went there in the first place.
So it is fair to say Bush committed us to trillions of dollars in expense and two large theaters of operation and ended 6 years later having not accomplished any of the except taking out Saddam, which was not an anti-terrorist objective, and Obama in 3 years has accomplished all the original objectives plus a couple of others and is doing it while drawing down forces and cutting budgets.
by Scimajor October 20, 2011 3:16 PM EDT
What kind of a disgusting society goes nuts over Janet Jackson's "Wardrobe malfunction" but is ok with dead bodies (bloody ones at that)?
Nobody wanted to see Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction"!
noloyalisti, your hypocrisy and ignorance know no bounds, first of all Obama used the policies Bush created to kill these terrorists in fact when Bush was using drones and bombing countries to remove DICTATORS and TERRORISTS you were against him now that OBama has carried on exactly the same strategy and policies you praise him. Secondly the war machine, it's tools, and weapons, Obama uses to kill terrorists and protect American citizens, even treasonous traitorous ingrates like yourself, are manufactured by large corporations who employ hard working Americans unlike yourself. Get friggin clue ok?
This comment is ,as far as concerns the Libyan conflict, from beginning to end and on so many different levels, pure and undiluted BS.
I can't even be bothered to type out all the fallacies and inaccuracies and contained in your post.
This is the reason why we should have a minimum intelligence and IQ requirement in order to run for President of the USA. Just look at how Bush got rid of Saddam Hussein and how Obama got rid of Gadhafi. Two very different approaches, one idiotic and one very smart. One cost billions of dollars and thousands of American lives and one cost virtually nothing. Intelligence and a high IQ makes all the difference.
President Bush claimed all along that he had poor intelligence. I thought he was blaming the CIA. My mistake. He was just being honest. It is not only intelligence. What is more impressive is that the entire Libya intervention was an internaiotnal coalition where the US didn't have to do 99% of the work. Just like George H.W. Bush did in Desert Storm, a real coaltion of allies working together not only gets the mission accomplised with fewer Americans at risk it creates leverage and influence beyond our own borders.
The George W. Bush Wars were effecgtively just US affairs and no real coalition was assembled - Obama (and Hillary) deserve credit for making it a global action not a US one.
Another relief, less evil in the world. I hope his death can now bring peace and harmony to all people in Libya as well as other regions of Maghreb.
Four female prison guards impregnated by same inmate
5 hardest and easiest college majors by GPA's
Diabetes discovery could end use of insulin shots
Government halts HIV vaccine trial after shot fails to prevent infections
<img src="https://web.archive.org/web/20130426185656im_/http://dw.com.com/clear/c.gif?sid=162&im=img" border="0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
Copyright © 2013 CBS Interactive Inc.
All rights reserved.