The New York Times is reporting that 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 tumultuous uprising, was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his loyalist forces wrested control of his hometown of Surt. The announcement was made by the interim government.
Gaddafi, 69, was the long-entrenched autocrat driven from power in Tripoli two months ago.
“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference. “Moammar Gaddafi has been killed.”
The confirmation came after hours of conflicting reports following the final assault on Sirte, Gaddafi’s last refuge about 280 miles east of Tripoli. It was not immediately clear whether he was killed by a NATO airstrike or by Libyan revolutionaries who intercepted his attempt to flee the city.
Libyan Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said Gaddafi was in a convoy that came under fire.
Initial reports said Gaddafi had been captured or wounded, adds the Washington Post.
The BBC is reporting that grainy video footage had earlier been circulating among NTC fighters appearing to show Col Gaddafi’s corpse.
The video shows a large number of NTC fighters yelling in chaotic scenes around a khaki-clad body, which has blood oozing from the face and neck.