Oct 21, 2011

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi killed: instant views from world

Deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed, interim Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told reporters in Tripoli on Thursday (October 20, 2011). There are conflicting reports surrounding the circumstances of his killing, which reportedly happened in or near Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte on Thursday.

Libya's ambassador to the United Kingdom says that Gadhafi's body is in Misrata, Libya. A different source – a spokesman for a member of the Tripoli military council – says that one of Gadhafi's sons, Mutassim, and Moammar Gadhafi's chief of intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, also have been killed. 

A grisly video that aired on the Al Jazeera Arabic network appears to show a lifeless Gadhafi with a wound to his head. A photograph distributed by the news agency Agence France-Presse also appeared to show the longtime dictator severely wounded. 

CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the images. In another major development, revolutionary fighters said they wrested control of Sirte on Thursday. And NATO said it is going to convene soon for a meeting to discuss ending its operation in Libya, a source told CNN. This story is fast developing. 

Moammar Gadhafi, 69, was in power for 42 years before being ousted in an uprising this year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the death of Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday is "important" for Libyans. "A bloody war which Gadhafi waged against his own people now comes to a close. The way is finally clear for a new and peaceful political beginning," she said. 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office called Moammar Gadhafi's "disappearance" Thursday a "major step" in the struggle by Libyans to "free themselves from dictatorship and violence." 

David Gergen, a CNN senior political analyst and an adviser to four U.S. presidents, reacted to Gadhafi’s death: “Thank goodness. The world is rid of a tyrant,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Gadhafi's death “does promise something new” for Libya, and the Libyans “deserve” this news, Gergen said. However, Gergen cautioned that the death doesn’t bring stability to Libya or the region. 


Moammar Gadhafi "was not killed in an airstrike," interim Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said Thursday in Tripoli. Conflicting reports have been made regarding how and where Gadhafi died. Libyan Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told CNN that revolutionary fighters attacked a house where Gadhafi was hiding, and that Gadhafi was shot while trying to flee. 

NATO has said that its aircraft struck two pro-Gadhafi military vehicles in the vicinity of Sirte. It's unclear whether that had any role in Gadhafi's death. 

U.S. Sen. John McCain said of reports of Gadhafi's death: "I think it's a great day." The United States has been part of a NATO military mission enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya since the early days of 2011's Libyan revolt against Gadhafi. McCain said that when he and other lawmakers visited Tripoli to speak with anti-Gadhafi officials after Gadhafi's overthrow, those officials said that they would seriously consider reimbursing the United States for its efforts. 

The amount that the Libyans said they would try to give back to the United States is approximately $1 billion, McCain told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. U.S. Defense Department costs for operations in Libya stand at about $1.1 billion as of September 30, according to Pentagon spokesman George Little. That includes daily military operations, munitions, the drawdown of supplies and humanitarian assistance. McCain said that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama "deserves credit" for how the crisis in Libya has been handled. 

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Gadhafi's death "marks a historic transition for Libya." "In the coming days, we will witness scenes of celebration, as well as grief for those who lost so much. Yet let us recognize, immediately, that this is only the end of the beginning," Ban said, referring in part to the work that Libya's anti-Gadhafi movement still has to do to transition from Gadhafi's regime. "The road ahead for Libya and its people will be difficult and full of challenges.". 

Streets in Libya's capital, Tripoli, are jammed with people who are celebrating, CNN's Dan Rivers reports from the city. Gunfire – presumably celebratory – can be heard. Video from Tripoli shows many people waving the flag that Libya's National Transitional Council adopted after Gadhafi's ouster. 

A pro-Moammar Gadhafi channel, Al-Rai, is now reporting the death of the former Libyan leader, citing NATO sources. 

The Libyan ambassador to the United Kingdom confirmed Moammar Gadhafi's death Thursday and said his body is in the Libyan city of Misrata. News of the ambassador's comments comes minutes after the interim Libyan prime minister announced Gadhafi's death. 

The son of a long-missing anti-Gadhafi activist says that reports of Gadhafi’s death are overwhelming to him. “I can’t explain,” Ahmed Almegaryaf said. “[It is] something I’ve been wanting to hear all my life. Hopefully it really was him that was captured.” Almegaryaf is the son of Izzat Almegaryaf, who the son says was captured by Egyptian security services in 1990 and handed over to the Libyans. He said he has not heard from his father since. Almegaryaf said he that even if his father is dead, Izzat Almegaryaf will be “smiling down” on Libya if Gadhafi is gone. 

NATO's top military official, Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis, will call for a special session to address ending the NATO mission in Libya, a senior NATO official says, according to CNN's Barbara Starr. “It will be very soon, perhaps next day or two. (Stavridis) will give a recommendation and a special session of the NAC will be convened," the official said. Stavridis is now looking at “key pieces of intelligence” to make that recommendation, according to the official. That will include assessing whether anti-Gadhafi forces control Sirte, and whether Gadhafi loyalists can mount any significant counter-strike.


Gadhafi's son, Mutassim, and his chief of intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, have been killed, according to Anees al-Sharif, spokesman for Abdel Hakim Belhajj of the Tripoli military council. This report comes on the day that the interim Libyan prime minister says that Moammar Gadhafi was killed.

Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed, interim Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told reporters in Tripoli Thursday. Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, said if the reports of Gadhafi's death are confirmed, his demise "brings closure to a tragic period in the lives of so many Libyans." She also said that the fall of Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte "marks the end of the Gadhafi era." "Libya is now under the full control of National Transitional Council forces," she said.


Guma el-Gamaty, a Libyan political activist and former London coordinator for Libya's National Transitional Council, told CNN from London that leaders of anti-Gadhafi forces told him that Gadhafi was conscious and was talking shortly after he was injured. Gadhafi said, “who are you, what’s going on?” but died later, according to el-Gamaty, who cited anti-Gadhafi forces. He said Gadhafi was injured as he resisted attempts to capture him.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, who has covered the uprising in Libya for months, said one of the biggest risks for Libya moving forward is a strong impulse among revolutionary fighters and political leaders to commit revenge killings in an attempt to get rid of leftover elements of Gadhafi’s regime. Rioting and looting, thanks to overall instability, could follow, Wedeman said.

Former Gadhafi aide Abubaker Saad, now a professor of Middle Eastern history at Western Connecticut State University, told CNN that he is more optimistic about how Gadhafi's alleged death would affect Libya. He said on CNN that Libya's National Transitional Council is "really thirsty" to enact democratic reforms in the country.Saad said positive change will happen, but he added that it would be "foolish" to expect "smooth sailing" in a country which has been ruled for more than four decades by a dictator.

Cell phone video aired by Arabic language TV network Al Jazeera appears to show Gadhafi's bloody body.  CNN's Phil Black, reporting from the British prime minister's residence in London, says that the British government is making no comment about reports of Gadhafi's death, and that it's unlikely they would do so before Washington. Black noted that there have been "enthusiastic" reports of other Libyan leaders' deaths and capture since the fall of Tripoli that have turned out to be false.

A State Department official familiar with the latest information coming out of Libya said it “looks like he’s been killed," but the department is still awaiting official confirmation. The official would only speak if his name not be used.

Abubaker Saad, a former Gadfahi aide who is now a professor of Middle Eastern history and culture at Western Connecticut State University, said he believed the loyalty that certain Libyan tribes showed to Gadhafi will not transfer to his sons. “None of (Gadhfai’s sons) can muster the loyalty of the tribal groups ... that their father had.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can't confirm reports of Moammar Gadhafi's capture or death. But she said on Thursday either development would "add legitimacy and relief to the formation of a new government" in Libya. A former member of the Libyan National Transitional Council, Guma El-Gamaty, told CNN from London that Gadhafi is dead. "This is the end of the tyrant," he said.

Rebels said Moammar Gadhafi was killed when fighters attacked the house where he was Thursday, National Transitional Council Information Minister Mahmoud Shamman told CNN. "He tried to flee and they killed him. When they met him, he was alive and he was killed in action," Shamman said. Shamman said the NTC's chairman or prime minister will officially confirm the death.

Abubaker Saad, who worked for Gadhafi for nine years, spoke to CNN via Skype. He viewed a photo that news agency AFP says is Gadhafi bloodied and captured. Saad said he is "90 percent" sure that the man in the photo is Gadhafi. Saad said he is "thrilled" at the news and that it was crucial to have Gadhafi captured or killed – either one – because as long as he was alive or free, he could possibly rally supporters and maintain some level of power. Saad is a professor in the history department at Western Connecticut State University. He teaches Middle East history and cultures.

Most Western governments declined to comment on the reports Thursday, with the U.S. State Department saying it could not confirm the media reports were correct. One exception was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country took part in the NATO-led air operation in Libya, who said Gadhafi was in custody. "My assistant has just told me that Gadhafi really has been captured," Rutte said during a visit to Moscow. "I am glad that he has been captured." Listen to why Washington is hesitating to confirm reports. If reports are true, it is positive news for U.S. national security, CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

Mahmoud Shamman, National Transitional Council Information Minister, tells CNN that a press conference will be happening soon about the alleged death of Gadhafi. Shamman said Gadhafi is dead and that is "a great victory" for the Libyan people. CNN's Dan Rivers spoke to him in Tripoli where crowds are cheering, shooting guns in a celebratory way and honking their horns. Rebels said Gadhafi was killed when fighters attacked the house where he was Thursday, Shamman told CNN. "He tried to flee and they killed him. When they met him, he was alive and he was killed in action," Shamman said. Shamman said the NTC's chairman or prime minister will officially confirm the death.


CNN's Ben Wedeman, who covers the region and has covered Libya extensively, said that much caution should be used with these reports, because false information has come out previously. It is being reported that Gadhafi was found in a storm drain. "It's a bit of surprise because we knew that he had escaped from Tripoli" with a lot of cash and weapons, Wedeman said. It would seem odd that Gadhafi would end up in a manhole-type of area, Wedeman said live on CNN.


A cell phone photo, distributed by the Agence France-Presse, shows the apparent arrest of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. In the photo, a man identified as Gadhafi appears wounded and bloodied.

Abdel Hakim Bilhajj, head of the National Transitional Council military arm in Tripoli, announced live on Al-Jazeera Arabic Thursday that Gadhafi is dead. Al-Ahrar, a National Transitional Council TV station, reports that Gadhafi is dead. The station didn't cite a source and the news couldn't be independently confirmed.

The White House has not confirmed the report of Gadhafi's death or capture, a senior administration official said Thursday. NATO said its aircraft struck two pro-Gadhafi military vehicles in the Sirte vicinity Thursday."These armed vehicles were conducting military operations and presented a clear threat to civilians," Col. Roland Lavoie said.

Earlier Thursday morning CNN reported that revolutionary fighters said they had captured Gadhafi. That was reported on Libyan television on Thursday. The report cited the Misrata Military Council. That report could not be independently confirmed by CNN.

Around that time, the National Transitional Council military spokesman told CNN that reports of Gadhafi's capture are only rumors. Abdurahman Bousin added at that time that it was doubtful that Gadhafi was even in or around his hometown of Sirte. Meanwhile fighters loyal to the NTC took control of Sirte Thursday, the council said. CNN's Dan Rivers is in Tripoli where massive crowds are cheering and honking their car horns. Many are shooting into the air in celebration.

The State Department can't confirm reports about the capture or killing of Gadhafi, a spokeswoman said Thursday. A "big fish" has been captured in Libya, but a spokesman for the new rulers couldn't say for sure whether it was Gadhafi.

Courtesy: CNN.

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