GRAPHIC: Libya Officials: Qaddafi Killed in Sirte

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

(CBS/AP) - October 20, 2011 -

GRAPHIC CONTENT: A cell phone picture reportedly taken in Sirte apparently shows Qaddafi covered in blood, though there is no confirmation the man is Qaddafi or if he is in fact dead.

Fugitive Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was killed in fighting around his hometown Thursday, a top official in Libya's transitional government said, citing reports from fighters who claimed they saw the body.

Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said he expects the prime minister to confirm the death soon, noting that past reports emerged "before making 100 percent confirmation."

Past reports of Qaddafi deaths or captures have later proven incorrect.

"Our people in Sirte saw the body ... Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will confirm it soon," Shammam told The Associated Press. "Revolutionaries say Qaddafi was in a convoy and that they attacked the convoy."

GRAPHIC VIDEO: Reuters footage out of Libya purportedly shows the body of Muammar Qaddafi.

NATO said it hit a convoy of Qaddafi's loyalists fleeing Sirte on Thursday morning but it could not confirm whether the ousted Libyan leader was in the convoy or possibly killed or captured.

The Misrata Military Council , one of multiple command groups for revolutionary forces, earlier said its fighters captured Qaddafi in Sirte. Another commander, Abdel-Basit Haroun, said Qaddafi was killed when an airstrike hit a convoy trying to flee.

The White House, U.S. State Department and Pentagon could not confirm the reports.

In Tripoli, reporter Kitty Logan said on CBS' "The Early Show" that Libyans are honking their horns and firing guns into the air in celebration of Qaddafi's possible death.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking from Afghanistan, told CBS News correspondent Whit Johnson that the capture Qaddafi would be a significant development in Libya if it proves true, but also said she did not expect his capture would end the fighting there.

The ecstatic former rebels celebrated the fall of Sirte after weeks of bloody siege by firing endless rounds into the sky, pumping their guns, knives and even a meat cleaver in the air and singing the national anthem.

In the central quarter where Thursday's 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 Qaddafi 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 Qaddafi'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.

"Our forces control the last neighborhood in Sirte," Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya's interim Transitional National Council, told The Associated Press in Tripoli. "The city has been liberated."

Despite the fall of Tripoli on Aug. 21, Qaddafi loyalists mounted fierce resistance in several areas, including Sirte, preventing Libya's new leaders from declaring full victory in the eight-month civil war. Earlier this week, revolutionary fighters gained control of one stronghold, Bani Walid, and by Tuesday said they had squeezed Qaddafi's forces in Sirte into a residential area of about 700 square yards but were still coming under heavy fire from surrounding buildings.

Reporters at the scene watched as the final assault began around 8 a.m. and ended about 90 minutes later. Just before the battle, about five carloads of Qaddafi loyalists tried to flee the enclave down the coastal highway that leads out of the city. But they were met by gunfire from the revolutionaries, who killed at least 20 of them.

After the battle, revolutionaries began searching homes and buildings looking for any hiding Qaddafi fighters. At least 16 were captured, along with cases of ammunition and trucks loaded with weapons. Reporters saw revolutionaries beating captured Qaddafi men in the back of trucks and officers intervening to stop them.

Deputy Defense Minister Fawzi Abu Katif on Wednesday told the AP that authorities still believe Qaddafi's son Muatassim is among the ex-regime figures holed up in the diminishing area in Sirte. He was not seen on the ground after the final battle on Thursday.

In an illustration of how difficult and slow the fighting for Sirte was, it took the anti-Qaddafi fighters, who also faced disorganization in their own ranks, two days to capture a single residential building.

Qaddafi loyalists who have escaped could still continue the fight and attempt to organize an insurgency using the vast amount of weapons Qaddafi was believed to have stored in hideouts in the remote southern desert.

Unlike Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi had no well-organized political party that could form the basis of an insurgent leadership. However, regional and ethnic differences have already appeared among the ranks of the revolutionaries, possibly laying the foundation for civil strife.

Qaddafi has issued several audio recordings trying to rally supporters. Libyan officials have said they believe he's hiding somewhere in the vast southwestern desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria.

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  • by Glenn Location: Tallahassee on Oct 20, 2011 at 05:07 PM
    Thank God we have a very smart president who resisted the neo-conservative calls to send thousands of troops and make it yet another U.S. war. President Obama saved thousands of soldier's lives and possibly a billion dollars. He took the advise of Nancy Reagan: "Just say No!".
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 20, 2011 at 08:19 PM in reply to Glenn
      It seems to escape you that the British and French as part of the Nato forces were actively engaged in the event. As to Obama being smart? 25 million out of work Americans would not agree with you. Try reading political information outside Florida and the US for a change.
    • reply
      by TJ on Oct 21, 2011 at 04:57 AM in reply to Glenn
      "neo-conservative calls to send thousands of troops" - uh, nope. I think Obama is much more of a hawk than his supporters anticipated. I also have serious concerns for what comes next in Libya.
  • by PrezNixon on Oct 20, 2011 at 01:05 PM
    These are the type of people our regime in Washigton support, muslim tyrants and terrorist...way to go, trade one terrorist for a much worse muslim group that will turn on America....but it is all part of ovomit's plan......
  • by Jim on Oct 20, 2011 at 08:08 AM
    PS Their is a god and yes he is a forgiving God.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 20, 2011 at 06:36 AM
    Obama is slowly killing off the North African and Middle Eastern world leaders. I guess if Bush had made this happen he would be called a war monger/murderer. But yet you praise the great Muslim leader of America for the same actions. Obama is sending US troops not UN troops to Africa to chase the Lords leader. I guess all you left wing hippie liberals that voted him secretly like killing and wars. Be careful what you wish for.
    • reply
      by Youcrazy on Oct 20, 2011 at 07:35 AM in reply to
      Haha, what are you talking about? Mr. Obama is not a Muslim and wtf is a hippie liberal? Have you been paying attention to Occupy Wall Street? They're not hippies, they're people from all walks of life. Why don't you go get one!
      • reply
        by PrezNixon on Oct 20, 2011 at 01:07 PM in reply to Youcrazy
        You must bwe blind!
      • reply
        by say what?? on Oct 20, 2011 at 02:51 PM in reply to Youcrazy
        Hey "Youcazy" - either put down the bong or pass it around.
    • reply
      by Anon on Oct 20, 2011 at 07:38 AM in reply to
      Seriously? You are that stupid that you are still thinking Obama is Muslim? And no, I'm not some left wing hippie liberal. Liberals are a bunch of cowards. But you conservatives are a bunch of whackjobs. PS: There is no god.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 20, 2011 at 08:11 PM in reply to Anon
        Both records in Indonesia for grade school and application for aid at Occidental College designate Barry Soetoro (Obama) as a Muslim. Some people say and do things as a matter of convenience.
        • reply
          by WTFE on Oct 21, 2011 at 07:11 AM in reply to Anonymous
          So you do everything you were taught as a kid?? He couldn't help the school he went to.. People grow up and change their views and opinions(Thats why they call it growing up) yea thinking for yourself making your own decisions.. If we looked at your grade school you were probably a booger eating baptist.. But we won't hold that against you.. What are you now.. I am neither liberal or conservative.. I am American and vote for whats right not the Party!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 09:07 PM in reply to Anonymous
          @WTF-Nope and you are wrong on so many counts. Never been a Baptist and since you mentioned a foul behavior pattern this must be something that is part of your lifestyle. Barry was an adult when he filled out that form for Occidental College. BHO knew what he wrote and had an agenda for doing so. Otherwise, his application for Occidental College would never be considered in such a "politically correct environment."
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 20, 2011 at 07:41 AM in reply to
      Obama wants Libya to be a muslim state.
    • reply
      by Umm on Oct 20, 2011 at 07:59 AM in reply to
      I don't know if you've seen the pattern over the last 50 or so years. If the USA has a president, the USA will be in a war; doesn't seem to matter who gets elected.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 20, 2011 at 09:32 AM in reply to Umm
        So true but only certain ones get praised for it
    • reply
      by Glenn on Oct 20, 2011 at 05:00 PM in reply to
      Sounds like this nut has been brainwashed by other nuts like Rush, Sean Hannity, and Glen Beck. It's scary that there's others like him out there.
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