Gaddafi killed as Libya's revolt takes hometown

Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:58pm GMT
 

By Rania El Gamal and Tim Gaynor

SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi is dead, Libya's new leaders said, killed by fighters who overran his home town and final bastion on Thursday. His bloodied body was stripped and displayed around the world from cellphone video.

Senior officials in the interim government, which ended his 42-year rule two months ago but had laboured to subdue thousands of diehard loyalists, said his death would allow a declaration of "liberation" after eight months of bloodshed.

"We confirm that all the evils, plus Gaddafi, have vanished from this beloved country," Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said in Tripoli as the body was delivered, a prize of war, to Misrata, the city whose siege and suffering at the hands of Gaddafi's forces made it a symbol of the rebel cause.

"It's time to start a new Libya, a united Libya," Jibril added. "One people, one future." A formal declaration of liberation, that will set the clock ticking on a timeline to elections, would be made by Friday, he said later.

Western leaders, who had held off cautiously from comment until Jibril spoke, echoed his sentiments now that Gaddafi, a self-styled "king of kings" in Africa whom they had lately courted after decades of enmity, was dead at 69.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who with French President Nicolas Sarkozy was an early sponsor of February's revolt in Benghazi, said: "People in Libya today have an even greater chance after this news of building themselves a strong and democratic future."

The new national flag, resurrected by rebels who forced Gaddafi from his capital Tripoli in August, filled streets and squares as jubilant crowds whooped for joy and fired in the air.

In Sirte, a one-time fishing village and Gaddafi's home town that grandiose schemes had styled a new "capital of Africa", fighters danced, brandishing a golden pistol they said they had taken from Gaddafi.   Continued...

A man purported to be former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is seen in this still image taken from video footage October 20, 2011. Gaddafi was killed on Thursday as Libya's new leaders declared they had overrun the last bastion of his long rule, sparking wild celebrations that eight months of war may finally be over. Details of the death near Sirte of the fallen strongman were hazy but it was announced by several officials of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and backed up by a photograph of a bloodied face ringed by familiar, Gaddafi-style curly hair. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori
 
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