Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Rebel forces kill Gaddafi

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Tripoli: Muammar Gaddafi, a maverick who held sway over Libya with an iron fist rule for 42 years, was on Thursday 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.

NATO and the US State Department said they cannot confirm the reports of Gaddafi’s death.

“We’ve seen the media reports but can’t confirm them,” US State Department spokeswoman Beth Gosselin said.

Reacting to the development, Libyan Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said, “It’s a great victory for the Libyan people.”

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.

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. Thousands of civilians had fled Sirte. (PTI)

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