Tripoli: Muammar Gaddafi, a maverick who
held sway over Libya with an iron fist rule for 42 years, was
today shot and killed by rebels in his hometown of Sirte after
the revolutionary forces overran his last bastion.
"Don`t shoot, don`t shoot" were the last words of the
69-year-old dictator, who attempted to flee from a drain where
he was hiding.
The rebels first shot him in his both legs and severely
injured him but captured him alive. Gaddafi, whose regime was
known for savage killing of dissidents, died when he was being
transported in a car, reports said.
Gaddafi`s son Mutassim and Defence Minister Abu-Bakr
Yunis Jabr were also found dead in Sirte, the last major
bastion of resistance two months after the regime fell in
August, a National Transitional Council commander said.
Pan-Arabic satellite television Al-Jazeera first broke
the news of his ignominious death which was later confirmed by
Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril who told reporters here
"Muammar Gaddafi has been killed."
"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time,"
he said, as the Libyan TV and Al-Jazeera TV showed Gaddafi
lying dead, bleeding from the head and stripped to the waist
as fighters rolled him over on the pavement.
"It is a historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and
dictatorship. Gaddafi has met his fate," Abdel Hafez Ghoga, a
spokesman for the National Transitional Council (NTC), said.
Celebratory gunfire and cries of "Allah-o-Akbar" rang out
across Tripoli as the news of Gaddafi`s death spread.
Gun-totting rebel fighters went around the streets firing into
the sky. Cars out on the roads honked horns and people hugged
and kissed each other and sang national anthem.
Gaddafi`s body was taken to a mosque in Misrata, a report
said quoting an NTC official.
Reacting to the development, Libyan Information Minister
Mahmoud Shammam said, "It`s a great victory for the Libyan
Gaddafi came to power in a bloodless coup against King
Idris in 1969, when he was just an army captain. He claimed to
be "King of Kings," a title he had a gathering of tribal
leaders grant him in 2008.
But the revolt against his rule that began in February
evolved into civil war, leading to his ouster from power.
Earlier in the day, anti-Gaddafi forces said they had
wrested control of the last holdout of loyalists in Gaddafi`s
hometown of Sirte, located 400 kilometers east of Tripoli.
"Thank God they have caught this person. In one hour,
Sirte was liberated," a fighter in the town said.
NTC had been waiting for weeks for the coastal city of
Sirte to fall to officially declare liberation.
Gaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court in
The Hague in the Netherlands for alleged crimes against
humanity, had not been seen in public in months.
Anti-Gaddafi fighters in Sirte celebrated by firing in
the air. In Benghazi and Mistra, crowds gathered in the
streets to start celebrating the death of Gaddafi.
Interim government forces had been facing heavy
resistance from snipers in the city, and used heavy artillery
during the offensive. Thousands of civilians had fled Sirte.
The NTC has also suffered heavy casualties in the town of
Bani Walid, south-east of Tripoli, in recent weeks.