Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moammar Gadhafi reported captured, possibly killed

Anti-Gadhafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte. Libyan interim government fighters captured Moammar Gadhafi's home town on Thursday, extinguishing the last significant resistance by forces loyal to the deposed leader and ending a two-month siege.

Libya celebrates LIVE11:59:59
Libya celebrates LIVE11:59:59
Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been reported captured, and possibly killed, as his hometown of Sirte fell to revolutionary fighters, officials said Thursday.
Al-Jazeera has aired images it says are of a dead Gadhafi, taken after his capture. The footage shows a man,who resembles Gadhafi bleeding from the head, CBC News could not verify the authenticity of the image.
Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister of the Libyan transitional government, was due to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. ET.
Abubaker Karmos, the Libyan chargé d'affaires in Ottawa, told CBC News "the word we have is that [Gadhafi] is dead," but he added that he is waiting for official word from the National Transitional Council before he does he any interviews.
Libyan Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said: "Our people in Sirte saw the body."
"Revolutionaries say Gadhafi was in a convoy and that they attacked the convoy," he said.
Reports of Gadhafi's capture came as Sirte, the last pocket of resistance by fighters loyal to him, fell to revolutionary forces.
A NATO spokesman said NATO aircraft struck two pro-Gadhafi forces military vehicles Thursday morning. The vehicles were part of a larger convoy moving in the Sirte area, the statement said.
"These armed vehicles were conducting military operations and presented a clear threat to civilians," said Col. Roland Lavoie, a spokesman for the Libya mission. The statement does not provide any detail on whether Gadhafi was in the convoy.
Following reports of the deposed leader's capture, NTC fighters rejoiced in the streets of Sirte. They cheered and fired rounds of ammunition into the air.
Freelance reporter Saleh Sarrar told CBC News from the Libyan capital Tripoli that people were rejoicing at the apparent end of Gadhafi.
"You can hear the horns of the cars," Sarrar said. "People are very, very, very happy with this kind of news."
Two Arab broadcasters, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, reported that Mo'tassim Gadhafi, a son of the deposed leader, was captured alive in Sirte.
The White House and the U.S. State Department could not immediately confirm the reports of Gadhafi's capture.
A spokesperson for Canada's Foreign Affairs department also said they were working to confirm the capture.

Months of struggle

Protests against Gadhafi, who has ruled the North African nation since 1969, began in February, part of a wave of protests in the Arab world.
Gadhafi urged Libyans to stand with him and battle the revolutionary forces, who organized their assault from the eastern city of Benghazi.
For months, rebel fighters clashed with Gadhafi loyalists, with each side struggling to gain ground in the drawn-out battle.
In March, the UN Security Council authorized a mission to protect civilians against Gadhafi's forces, which included a no-fly zone and airstrikes. Canada joined the effort, sending equipment and military staff to a base in Italy.
(CBC)The international community made other moves against the longtime leader, including freezing family assets and issuing an international arrest warrant for Gadhafi and some of his key advisers, including his son Seif al-Islam.
Even as the international community moved against him, the longtime Libyan leader vowed to fight on, issuing audio recordings urging his supporters to take on the fighters seeking to oust him from power.
In late August, after months of fighting, rebel forces swept into the capital, eventually taking control of the city.
Not long after the seizure of Tripoli, Gadhafi's wife and some of his children fled to neighbouring Algeria. Gadhafi's whereabouts were still not known, but the defiant former ruler issued another audio recording to supporters in September, urging them to keep fighting.
Gadhafi's whereabouts were not known, but the interim government continued the fight, trying to drive Gadhafi supporters out of his few remaining strongholds — including his hometown of Sirte.