Libyan Leaders Tell US Gadhafi is Dead [TIMELINE]
The hometown of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fell today as the last vestige of control for the man once hailed as the “king of kings of Africa” came to an end. And officials in the transitional government say Gadhafi, who has been in hiding since rebels seized control of Tripoli, was captured or killed.
Here’s a running account of the day’s developments. All times are local in Libya, which is two hours ahead of GMT and eight hours ahead of Mountain Time.
U.S. official: Libyan leaders have informed the U.S. that Gadhafi is dead.
Al-Jazeera TV is airing shaky footage of a man resembling Gadhafi lying dead or badly wounded, bleeding from the head and stripped to the waist as fighters roll him over on the pavement.
The White House isn’t saying much about developments in Libya while U.S. officials await more word. But even before confirmation, Sen. John McCain called it “an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution.”
He said the U.S. and NATO should continue support for Libya. The U.S. led the start of the NATO air campaign that bolstered the rebel forces in the early days.
Tomorrow marks two months since Tripoli fell to the rebels and Gadhafi disappeared from his compound in the capital. At the time, their transitional government said they dedicated a special unit of crack fighters to track him down.
There have been rumors of Gadhafi’s whereabouts for weeks — some said he was in neighboring Niger or Algeria, some said he could be in a bunker deep beneath Tripoli.
Today in Niger, Aghaly Alambo, a native of Niger who became a part of Gadhafi’s inner circle, said he was watching TV and following the developments closely, but his own sources in Libya had not yet been able to confirm the reports of Gahdafi’s capture.
Libyan officials are calling a news conference in Tripoli with Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister of the transitional government and the highest-ranking official in the capital now. It’s scheduled to begin in 15 minutes.
There are celebrations in the streets in Tripoli as reports spread of Gadhafi’s capture or possible death. The transitional government summoned journalists more than an hour ago for an imminent news conference, but they still haven’t made an official announcement.
In Sirte, fighters who have battled for months to seize control of the country from Gadhafi’s forces embraced in the streets and chanted. “The war, it’s finished,” one fighter said.
A spokesman for Libya’s transitional government says Gadhafi has been captured and possibly killed in the fall of his hometown. Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam says he expects the prime minister to make an announcement in an hour or so. Past reports of Gadhafi’s death or capture have been wrong.
NATO confirms they’ve hit a convoy of Gadhafi loyalists fleeing Sirte, and Libyan fighters say they captured the ousted leader.
White House officials are monitoring the reports of Gadhafi’s capture and death but say they can’t confirm anything. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was just in Libya yesterday and said then she hoped for his demise. She also offered U.S. aid to the interim government.
Libyan officials and NATO say they can’t confirm reports that Gadhafi was captured or killed today when his hometown fell.
Discarded military uniforms of Gadhafi’s forces are in the streets. One fighter climbed a traffic light, kissed the revolution’s flag then unfurled it.
“The city has been liberated,” says Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya’s interim government. The Libyan fighters were seen beating captured Gadhafi men in the back of trucks, with officers trying to stop them.
Gadhafi’s hometown, Sirte, has fallen to the rebels. Our reporter in the city says Libyan fighters are searching homes and buildings looking for any Gadhafi loyalists who might be hiding.