By Al Arabiya with Agencies
Former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi died of wounds suffered on Thursday as fighters battling to complete an eight-month-old uprising against his rule overran his hometown Sirte, Libya’s interim rulers said.
“We announce to the world that Qaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution,” Abdel Hafez Ghoga said, a spokesman for the National Transitional Council said.
“It is a historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Qaddafi has met his fate,” he added.
Al Arabiya reported that the body of deposed Libyan leader Qaddafi had arrived in Misrata and said it would be allowed to film the corpse.
It was citing its correspondent. Al Arabiya and other networks earlier broadcast a photograph that the interim government confirmed was the body of Qaddafi.
His killing, which came swiftly after his capture near Sirte, is the most dramatic single development in the Arab Spring revolts that have unseated rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and threatened the grip on power of the leaders of Syria and Yemen.
“He [Qaddafi] was also hit in his head,” National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”
National Transitional Council official said on Thursday the body of the deposed Libyan leader is being taken to a location which is being kept secret for security reasons.
“Qaddafi’s body is with our unit in a car and we are taking the body to a secret place for security reasons,” Mohamed Abdel Kafi, an NTC official in the city of Misrata told Reuters.
Mlegta told Reuters earlier that Qaddafi, who was in his late 60s, was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked. He said he had been taken away by an ambulance.
There was no independent confirmation of his remarks.
An anti-Qaddafi fighter said Qaddafi 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.
His capture followed within minutes of the fall of Sirte, a development that extinguished the last significant resistance by forces loyal to the deposed leader.
Motassim Qaddafi captured
Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports that the son of Qaddafi, has been captured alive in Sirte, fighters in the field have told the National Transitional Council, an official said.
“Our information from the commanders in the field is that Motassim Qaddafi has been captured alive in Sirte,” NTC’s information minister, Mahmoud Shammam, told Reuters.
Shammam said he could not independently verify the report.
Al Arabiya earlier reported it would broadcast images of Motassim after his capture.
In the meantime, another NTC commander said that Motassim was found dead in Sirte. Al Arabiy could not confirm the reports.
Forging a new democratic system
The capture of Sirte and the death of Qaddafi means Libya’s ruling NTC should now begin the task of forging a new democratic system which it had said it would get under way after the city, built as a showpiece for Qaddafi’s rule, had fallen.
Qaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of ordering the killing of civilians, was toppled by rebel forces on August 23 after 42 years of one-man rule over the oil-producing North African state.
NTC fighters hoisted the red, black and green national flag above a large utilities building in the center of a newly-captured Sirte neighborhood and celebratory gunfire broke out among their ecstatic and relieved comrades.
Hundreds of NTC troops had surrounded the Mediterranean coastal town for weeks in a chaotic struggle that killed and wounded scores of the besieging forces and an unknown number of defenders.
NTC fighters said there were a large number of corpses inside the last redoubts of the Qaddafi troops. It was not immediately possible to verify that information.