Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi is dead, Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has confirmed.Something tells me there was something lost in the translation. "Absolutely dead?" As opposed to what? "Mostly dead?" I think he was trying to get the point across that Gadhafi's death is confirmed.
"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Qaddafi has been killed," Jibril told a news conference in the capital Tripoli. Qaddafi died of wounds suffered during his capture near his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, according to a spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC).
"Qaddafi is dead. He is absolutely dead ... he was shot in both legs and in the head. The body will be arriving in Misrata soon," media spokesman Abdullah Berrassali told Sky News.
A man who claimed to have witnessed the attack told the Associated Press Television News that he struck Qaddafi with his shoes after he was shot.I'd celebrate, but, hey, celebrating the death of an enemy of the US might be considered "uncivil."
Footage aired on Al-Jazeera television showed Qaddafi was captured wounded, but alive, in Sirte.
The goateed, balding Qaddafi, in a bloodsoaked shirt and his face bloodied, is seen standing upright being pushed along by fighters, and he appears to struggle against them, stumbling and shouting. The fighters push him onto the hood of a pickup truck, before dragging him away, apparently toward an ambulance.
Later footage showed fighters rolling Qaddafi's body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and his head bloody.
Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said he has confirmed that Qaddafi was dead from fighters who said they saw the body.
"Our people in Sirte saw the body ... Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will confirm it soon," he told The Associated Press. "Revolutionaries say Qaddafi was in a convoy and that they attacked the convoy."
Col. Roland Lavoie, spokesman for NATO's operational headquarters in Naples, Italy, said the alliance's aircraft Thursday morning struck two vehicles of pro-Qaddafi forces "which were part of a larger group maneuvering in the vicinity of Sirte."
"These armed vehicles were conducting military operations and presented a clear threat to civilians," Lavoie said in a statement.
Seif al-Islam, Qaddafi's son and one-time heir apparent, was also captured wounded by revolutionary fighters and is in a hospital, according to Liby'a justice minister. Mohammad al-Alagi said Thursday he was shot in the leg.
Celebratory gunfire and cries of "Allahu Akbar" or "God is Great" rang out across Tripoli as the reports spread. 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.
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. This week, revolutionary fighters gained control of one stronghold, Bani Walid, and by Tuesday said they had squeezed Qaddafi forces in Sirte into a residential area of about 700 square yards but were still coming under heavy fire from surrounding buildings.
Reporters at the scene watched as the final assault began around 8 a.m. 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.
Sirte -- Qaddafi's hometown and the last bastion of his supporters -- was the last holdout against NTC forces. The town's capture, which both military officials and new regime political sources said was expected later Thursday, would pave the way for the NTC to officially take control of Libya and move its headquarters away from its Benghazi stronghold in the east to the capital, Tripoli.
White House officials are monitoring the developing reports, but are unable to confirm the status of the former Libyan leader.
Libyan fighters captured Sirte Thursday, two months after the fall of Tripoli.
Let's hope the Libyan people can make the most of this new opportunity for freedom.