Nine months after Libya’s rebellion began, Muammar Qaddafi was captured, wounded, and then died from his injuries as he tried to flee his hometown of Sirte today, an official from the country’s National Transitional Council told Reuters. The former Libyan dictator was in a convoy that was attacked by NATO warplanes, and suffered wounds to the head and both legs, according to National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta. In addition to Qaddafi, the strike took the life of Abu Bakr Younus Jabr, the head of the ex-leader’s armed forces.
The airstrike took place as Sirte, the last Qaddafi stronghold, finally crumbled after weeks of fighting. Reuters reported that chants of “God is great, God is great, Gaddafi has been captured” filled Tripoli.
A State Department spokeswoman told the Times that the U.S. could not confirm the reports of Qaddafi’s killing or capture.
Update: If you’re interested, the new Libyan government says this is a photo of Qaddafi. As you would expect, it’s fairly gruesome.
Update II: Other sources claim that Qaddafi was shot and killed by Libyans, and did not die in a NATO airstrike. Reuters reports:
“He was killed in an attack by the fighters. There is footage of that,” the NTC’s information minister, Mahmoud Shammam, told Reuters.
Western powers, who have backed the rebellion which took the capital Tripoli two months ago, said they were still checking. NATO said its aircraft fired on a convoy near Sirte earlier, but would not confirm reports that Gaddafi had been a passenger.
The New York Post adds:
An anti-Khadafy fighter said Khadafy had been found hiding in a hole in the ground and had said “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot” to the men who grabbed him, Reuters reported.
The TNC’s representative in London Mahmud Nacua later repeated the confirmation.
Update III: The AP is now reporting that Qaddafi’s son Mo’tassim was also killed.
President Obama held a brief press conference on Wednesday to talk about Qaddafi’s death. : “The United States together with the international community is committed to the Libyan people. You have won your revolution. … Without putting a single US service member on the ground, we achieved our objective.”