After eight months of civil war, the final stronghold of Moammar Gaddafi loyalists fell to Libyan fighters and Libyan prime minister Mahmoud Jibril said Gaddafi had been killed during the attack on Sirte. Follow along with the latest developments here:
5:35 p.m. Closing up
We’re closing up the live blog for the day. Thank you for following along.
4:45 p.m. American drone fired on stream of vehicles, one of which carried Gaddafi
NATO aircraft attacked a stream of vehicles leaving the city, one of which carried Gaddafi, officials say.
An American drone and French fighter jets fired on the disorganized convoy leaving Sirte, according to NATO officials.
It is not clear whether the airstrikes struck Gaddafi’s vehicle.
4:00 p.m. Libya interim prime minister confirms details of Gaddafi death in interview
From The Post’s Mary Beth Sheridan:
Libya's interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, told The Washington Post in an interview that Gaddafi was discovered by revolutionary fighters hiding in “a big pipe of the sewage system” in Sirte on Thursday morning. Gaddafi, in pants and a long-underwear shirt, had a pistol but did not resist arrest, Jibril said. But when he was walked out of the pipe and to a truck, a firefight broke out between revolutionaries and Gaddafi's security detail, and Gaddafi was shot in his right arm, said Jabril. When the truck started moving, “they came under intense crossfire,” he said, which struck Gaddafi in the head. “That was the deadly shot,” said Jibril.
“I cannot confirm whether he was shot by our people or his security brigade. It was crossfire,” said the prime minister. Gaddafi died within yards of reaching a hospital in Misurata, said Jibril. Samples of Gaddafi's DNA, blood and saliva were taken and analyzed to confirm the former leader was dead, he said. The coroner also took a sample of his hair — “which turned out to be a wig,” said the prime minister. Jibril said Gaddafi's son, Motassim, was killed in a separate firefight in another area of Sirte. But Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who had been his father's right-hand man in recent months, managed to escape and was still on the run, he said.
3:33 p.m. Gaddafi’s body being taken to secret location
Gaddafi’s body is being taken to a location which is being kept secret for security reasons, Reuters reports, quoting a Transitional National Council official.
The council also said it would declare the country liberated and give full details of Gaddafi’s killing by Friday.
3:10 p.m. New information comes out about Gaddafi and Condoleezza Rice
An excerpt from Condoleezza Rice’s new memoir, “No Higher Honor,” has been released, in which the former secretary of state talks about Gaddafi’s obsession with her, his collection of WMDs, and meeting with the leader in his “tent.” Read the excerpt here.
2:43 p.m. NATO says it will pull out of Libya
In a statement, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said:
NATO and our partners have successfully implemented the historic mandate of the United Nations to protect the people of Libya. We will terminate our mission in coordination with the United Nations and the National Transitional Council.
2:10 p.m. President Obama says Gaddafi regime has come to an end
In the White House Rose Garden, President Obama speaks about the end of the Gaddafi regime. “The United States, and their allies, stopped [Gaddafi’s] regime in their tracks,” he says. Speaking to the Libyan people, he says, “You have won your revolution.”
The Post’s David Nakamura live tweeted the White House speech. We’ll get up video as soon as posible.
1:40 p.m. Gaddafi’s sons reported killed
Mutassim Gaddafi and Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi are both reported to have been killed. Mutassim’s death has been confirmed by the Libyan information minister to the Associated Press. As of now, only al-Araybia is reporting Saif Al-Isalm’s death.
1:24 p.m. Was Gaddafi executed?
A longer video has now been uploaded on to YouTube that appears to show Gaddafi moments after his arrest. The camera is crowded out by a stampede of soliders jostling around what looks like a wounded, but still walking Gaddafi:
The video of what seems to be a still-living Gaddafi has sparked debate on the Internet whether or not Gaddafi died from his wounds, or was killed after he was captured. “The more I see footage of Gaddafi captured alive,” al-Jazeera reporter Derrick Ashong wrote on Twitter, “the more it seems he was summarily executed by his captors.”
An unidentified fighter in Misurata may have confirmed this version of the events to al-Jazeera, saying that he had taken part in the operation against Gaddafi. “I caught him alive. Then the revolutionaries shot him in the head and stomach,” said the man, dressed in camouflage.
12:58 p.m. Vice President Joe Biden: ‘NATO got it right’
Vice President Biden spoke in New Hampshire saying he would not officially confirm Gaddafi’s death, but said that one way or another Libya was freed. He said the actions in Libya showed the U.S. was correct in asking NATO to take control of the operation. “This is how to deal with the world going forward, getting the world to work together better,” he said. He said that the whole operation had cost $2 billion and no American lives had been lost, unlike past U.S. operations, offering up a subtle jab at the past military actions of George W. Bush.
12:49 p.m. Images of the tunnel and convoy
12:38 p.m. Obama will make a statement at 2 p.m.
The president is expected to address the latest developments in Libya.
12:28 p.m. Celebrations erupt around the world
Libyan National Transitional Council fighters carry a young man holding what they claim to be the gold-plated gun of ousted Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.
12:25 p.m. Possible video of the moments after Gaddafi’s arrest
A video uploaded to YouTube on Thursday shows what appears to be a bloody Gaddafi surrounded by Libyan fighters. He appears to still be alive in the video, but badly wounded.
The video description says in Arabic, “Gaddafi, the moment of arrest,” however it is impossible to independently verify the contents of the video. CNN just aired
The images are graphic:
10:25 a.m. Unconfirmed photos and video flood the web
Footage of bloodied and dead man who resembled Gaddafi was aired on al-Jazeera Thursday. The network said that it obtained cellphone footage from a former rebel fighter who had been present. There were also reports that Gaddafi’s son Mutassim had been found dead.
Warning the images in the video are very graphic:
Twitter erupted with the news, with six of its top ten trending topics focusing on Libya. People began passing around an image that appears to have been taken by a cell phone and shows a bloodied Gaddafi.
10:00 a.m. Libyan prime minister has confirmed Gaddafi was killed.
Read the full story here.
9:30 a.m. Uncofirmed reports of Gaddafi’s death
There was no immediate confirmation of the death from independent sources.
“He’s captured. We don’t know if he’s dead or not,” Ibrahim Mohammed Shirkasiya, a senior security official in Misurata, the biggest city west of Sirte, told The Post’s Mary Beth Sheridan by telephone earlier on Thursday. He said his information came from revolutionary commanders in Sirte.
Reuters reports that Gaddafi was fleeing the city in a convoy when NATO warplanes attacked.
“We’ve had no confirmation whether Gaddafi was in there or not,” said a NATO official who spoke to The Post’s Michael Birnbaum on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. Over the past couple weeks in Sirte, the official said, “there was a sense that given the fight they were putting up, which was concerted, that they were protecting something important.”
Thursday, the official said, “we saw a convoy coming out. It was tracked by NATO. There was a limited amount of engagement.” The official said that forces under control of the Libyan National Transitional Council had also surrounded the area and were engaged in heavy exchanges of gunfire with the convoy.
“We’ve seen nothing coming out of that particular pocket” of Sirte “until today, so it was unusual,” the official said. The official described what had come under attack as not a single convoy, but “a number of different packets of vehicles attempting to break through.”
Gaddafi has proved elusive during the fighting and has not been seen since Tripoli fell. There have been a number of reports in the past that he was captured or near capture. Former U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley wrote on Twitter that Gaddafi’s death, if confirmed, would “help Libya avoid a lengthy and destructive insurgency.”
Libyan officials previously had said they believed Gaddafi to be hiding somewhere in the vast southwestern desert. Sirte is on the northern coast of the country. Reuters reported that the U.S. State Department could not confirm the capture of Gaddafi.
What is confirmed, though, is that Libyan fighters are raucously celebrating the fall of Sirte. The Associated Press reports:
“In the central quarter where the final battle took place, the fighters looking like the same ragtag force that started the uprising eight months ago jumped up and down with joy and flashed V-for-victory signs. Some burned the green Gaddafi flag, then stepped on it with their boots.
“They chanted ‘Allah akbar,’ or ‘God is great’ in Arabic, while one fighter climbed a traffic light pole to unfurl the revolution’s flag, which he first kissed. Discarded military uniforms of Gaddafi’s fighters littered the streets. One revolutionary fighter waved a silver trophy in the air while another held up a box of firecrackers, then set them off.”
More reading from the Washington Post
World: Gaddafi’s home overrun