Good news from Libya: the Transitional National Council claims that former dictator Moammar Qaddafi has finally been located, and shortly afterward died of complications from an acute case of capture. According to Reuters, the new Libyan government says Qaddafi was wounded in both legs and the head when he tried to flee a NATO air attack in a convoy, and later succumbed to his wounds.
Qaddafi was reportedly found hiding in a hole in his hometown and final bastion of power, the city of Sirte. He cried “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” to the fighters who seized him, triggering a series of events that somehow ended up with his getting blown away during an attempted escape. (Of course, the exact details could be lost in the confusion of early reports, and will be nailed down later.) Qaddafi was taken from the scene by ambulance, but he didn’t last long.
There hasn’t been independent confirmation of Qaddafi’s death yet, but it does seem as if Sirte has fallen:
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 Gaddafi troops. It was not immediately possible to verify that information.
The AFP news service quotes a TNC military commander who said Qaddafi was “wearing a khaki uniform and a turban” at the time of his capture. That’s a major sartorial step down for flamboyant dictator, who usually wore festive curtains and draperies. At least he was reportedly packing a golden pistol when he went down.
The UK Daily Mail has a purported cell phone image of Qaddafi at the time of his capture (warning: graphic image at the link.) The Daily Mail notes that the al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya news services are also reporting Qaddafi’s death. At long last, a measure of justice for the Lockerbie bombing has been delivered. Now if the triumphant rebels would just hand over Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Qaddafi agent who carried out that sickening act of murder, we could save on shipping and handling costs by sending him to Hell alongside his master.
Update: Al-Jazeera has posted some graphic video of Qaddafi’s corpse. Once again, please consider this a content warning before following the link – it’s not pretty.