Qaddafi Is Dead, Libyan Officials Say

The former Libyan strongman, who fled into hiding two months ago, has been killed, the New York Times says.

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Libyan fighters (Getty Images)

Col. Muammar Qaddafi is reportedly dead, though there are conflicting reports that he has been captured. He was reportedly wounded during a firefight in his hometown of Surt, bringing closure to his 42 years of unorthodox rule over Libya. News reports indicate that he died from his injuries.

He fled two months ago after rebels, now the interim Libyan government, overran Tripoli during an uprising against his leadership. Since then, world leaders have called for his capture or death.

The New York Times reported:

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the former Libyan strongman who fled into hiding after rebels toppled his regime two months ago in the Arab Spring's most violent uprising, was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his loyalist forces wrested control of his hometown of Surt, the interim government announced.

Al-Jazeera television showed what it said was Colonel Qaddafi's corpse as jubilant fighters in Surt fired automatic weapons in the air, punctuating what appeared to be an emphatic and violent ending to his four decades as the self-proclaimed king of kings of Africa.

Libyans rejoiced as news of his death spread. Car horns blared in Tripoli as residents poured into the streets to celebrate.

Mahmoud Shammam, the chief spokesman of the Transitional National Council, the interim government that replaced Colonel Qaddafi’s regime after he fled Tripoli in late August, confirmed that Colonel Qaddafi was killed, though he did not provide other details.

"A new Libya is born today," he said. "This is the day of real liberation. We were serious about giving him a fair trial.  It seems God has some other wish."  

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the leader of the Tripoli military council, said on Al Jazeera that anti-Qaddafi forces had Colonel Qaddafi’s body.

It was not clear precisely how he died. Some reports, which could not be verified, recounted that Colonel Qaddafi was arrested, wounded by gunshots and died in custody.

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