Libya: ‘Gaddafi dies from wounds’ suffered in Sirte capture

Ben Farmer in Sirte and Barney Henderson – Telegraph.co.uk Oct 20, 2011

National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said that Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which Nato warplanes attacked.

Gaddafi was shot in both legs and “also hit in his head”, the official said. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

In the early hours of the morning, at least five cars carrying loyalist fighters attempted to escape the city.

Libyan rebels then moved into the city’s Number Two residential neighbourhood, which was the last pocket of pro-Gaddafi resistance left in the war-torn country.

“Sirte has been liberated. There are no Gaddafi forces any more,” said Col Yunus Al Abdali, head of operations in the eastern half of the city. “We are now chasing his fighters who are trying to run away.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said the death of the former dictator was an occasion to remember his victims, while hailing it as a chance for a “democratic future” for Libya. 

In a short, sombre statement outside 10 Downing Street, Cameron said Libyan interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil had confirmed to him that Gaddafi had been killed in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday.

“I think today is a day to remember all of Colonel Gaddafi’s victims, from those who died in connection with the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, to Yvonne Fletcher in a London street, and obviously all the victims of IRA terrorism who died through their use of Libyan Semtex,” he said.

The final assault on the remaining pro-Gaddafi positions began around 8am (7am GMT) on Thursday and was over after about 90 minutes.

Civilians, whose city has been under siege since Gaddafi was removed from power at the end of August, were making their way to the centre to celebrate. The Telegraph, witnessing scenes in the centre of the city said there were scenes of relief, jubilation and intense celebratory gunfire among National Transitional Council (NTC) forces.

The new national flag was raised above a large utilities building in the Mediterranean city, which had been under siege for nearly two months.

A rebel commander confirmed that loyalist fighters in the city had been rounded up.

“This is the last day of the fight,” Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Abdel Salam of the Misurata Brigade told AFP.

The fate of the city has become entwined with the immediate political future of Libya after the National Transitional Council said a full interim government could not be named until Sirte had fallen.

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