Libyan Fighters Declare Victory; Moamer Kadhafi Dead

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Agence France-Presse

Libyan Fighters Declare Victory; Moamer Kadhafi Dead

by
Nick Morrison

An image captured off a mobile phone camera claims to show the body of Moamer Kadhafi in Sirte. Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images

LATEST NEWS FROM LIBYA:

1905 GMT: With nightfall in Libya and world powers having reacted to the death of former strongman Moamer Kadhafi as his hometown fell, AFP is closing its Live Report.

1856 GMT: A French Mirage-2000 fired a warning shot to stop a convoy of vehicles carrying Moamer Kadhafi, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet says.

The convoy of several dozen vehicles "was stopped from progressing as it sought to flee Sirte but was not destroyed by the French intervention," Longuet told journalists.

Libyan fighters then intervened, destroying the vehicles, from which "they took out Colonel Kadhafi," he added.

1827 GMT: Muhammad al-Senussi, the heir apparent in Libya's overthrown monarchy, said Kadhafi's death was a victory for peace, freedom and reform in his homeland.

Speaking from exile in London, the crown prince said a new chapter had begun in Libya's history.

"The flag of freedom is now flying in Sirte and across Libya on this historic day," he said, hailing the unity that helped "rid the country of evil".

"There will be challenges ahead as we seek to rebuild our country. But if we show to the world that we are committed to democratic change and continue to display the unity that has led to victory then Libya will succeed and prosper.

Libya's 1951 constitution created a constitutional monarchy with his great uncle, Idris al-Mahdi al-Senussi, as the king. He was overthrown by Kadhafi in 1969.

"Now is the time... to put the era of terror and oppression behind us," he said, making no mention of returning to Libya himself.

1824 GMT: US President Barack Obama:

"One year ago, the notion of a free Libya seemed impossible. But then the Libyan people rose up and demanded their rights.

And when Kadhafi and his forces started going city to city, town by town to brutalize men, women and children, the world refused to stand idly by.

Faced with the potential of mass atrocities, and a call for help from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Kadhafi's forces in their tracks.

1816 GMT: "Today we can definitively say the Kadhafi regime has come to an end," says US President Barack Obama.

The last major regime strongholds have fallen. The new government is consolidating the control over the country. And one of the world's longest serving dictators is no more.

1802 GMT: AFP releases a video of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, seated for a television interview in Kabul, being handed her Blackberry by aide Huma Abedein and reading the news that Kadhafi had been captured.

Clinton, clearly surprised, says, "Wow. Hah." She quickly recovers and indicates the reports are, "unconfirmed."

"Yeah. Unconfirmed reports about Kadahfi being captured. Unconfirmed. Yeah, we've had too many, we've had a bunch of those before. You know we've had him captured a couple of times."

1755 GMT: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki welcomes the news of Moamer Kadhafi's death, arguing his demise and that of Saddam Hussein were "proof of the potential of the people."

"We congratulate our Libyan brothers and the (National) Transitional Council on the occasion of getting rid of the tyrant Kadhafi, who ran Libya for four decades filled with oppression," Maliki's office says in a statement.

"The similarity of the fate of tyrants in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere is proof of the potential of the people to defeat dictators, however long they have been in power.

"They (the people of Libya) can take control and create their present and their future.

1753 GMT: French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet says French warplanes identified and "stopped" a convoy of vehicles carrying Moamer Kadhafi before he was killed in clashes in Libya.

Longuet tells reporters the convoy of several dozen vehicles "was stopped from progressing as it sought to flee Sirte but was not destroyed by the French intervention."

Libyan fighters then intervened, destroying the vehicles, from which "they took out Colonel Kadhafi," he says.

1743 GMT: Britain does not approve of "extradjudicial killing" but will not mourn Kadhafi, Foreign Secretary William Hague says after video emerged of the Libyan leader alive after his capture.

Hague says it was wrong to speculate about exactly what happened after television stations showed video of a bloodied Kadhafi alive and walking as he was being manhandled by Libyan fighters shortly before his death was announced.

"We are just seeing these images and of course at the moment we don't know about the exact circumstances of his death," Hague tells Sky News.

"We would have liked him to face justice for his crimes in a court, in an international or Libyan court, and we don't approve of extrajudicial killing," he adds.

"But we are not going to mourn him. There are so many thousands who have died in this conflict, and the end of the battle in Sirte and the death of Kadhafi does mark that big opportunity now for the Libyans to move on."

1738 GMT: President Barack Obama, who was to make a statement shortly, "will cite the fact that Libyan officials have announced Gaddafi's death. We have also received similar reports through diplomatic channels and have confidence in this reporting," a US official says.

1734 GMT: Canada wishes 'peace and reconciliation' for Libya after Kadhafi's death.

1715 GMT: World police body Interpol and the International Criminal Court (ICC) urges Seif al-Islam, Kadhafi's highest profile son and heir apparent, to give himself up and "face justice".

In a statement, the two institutions "urged the former Libyan leader's son Seif to give himself up and for the national authorities of the country where he is hiding to guarantee and facilitate his safe transfer to The Netherlands to face justice."

1709 GMT: "If the reports are true, I think it offers a new opportunity for Libya to move forward to the future," Clinton said as she and a US delegation sat down for talks with senior Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

1706 GMT: In the first word from a US official on reports of Kadhafi's death, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Pakistan for talks, said Libya can move into the future if the reports are true.

1704 GMT: France declares that the NATO operation will be 'over' when the NTC declares Libya liberated.

1703 GMT: US President Barack Obama will make a statement in the White House Rose Garden at 2:00 pm (1800 GMT) Thursday on Kadhafi's death, the White House said.

1655 GMT: Agence France-Presse was the first international media on Thursday to file an image of Kadhafi after the fall Sirte.

The shot was taken from the mobile phone of an anti-Kadhafi fighter by photographer Philippe Desmazes in the eastern Libyan city, who had asked some fighters to take him to the sight of what sounded like celebratory gunfire.

Desmazes said his lucky break came when he noticed another group of fighters nearby, eyes fixed on a mobile phone and decided to join them.

"I was lucky because I was the only one to notice them," he said. "The owner of the cell phone showed me (a video of) the arrest of Kadhafi which he had taken a few minutes earlier.

"The light at that time made it difficult to take a picture of the screen," he said.

But the fighters crowded around Desmazes providing him with enough shadow to snap the picture. "The fighters moved closer and created a shadow enabling me to take a picture ... I was very lucky."

1637 GMT: In Rome, the Vatican prayed for "peace in the country and democracy," after the fall of Libya's dictator.

"We have to work for the Libyan people and so that everybody will cooperate towards the reconstruction" of the strife-torn country, Vatican's number two, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said.

1630 GMT: In Tunisia, hundreds took to the streets of Tunis to celebrate Kadhafi's death. Tunisia, which gave rise to the Arab Spring uprisings, will hold its first post-revolution vote at the weekend.

Cars drove through the centre of the capital hooting their horns, pumping out party music and flying the Libyan flag, as hundreds gathered outside the Libyan embassy to chant victory slogans.

"The tyrant has been killed", "The blood of martyrs did not flow in vain" and "Just desserts", chanted the mixed Libyan-Tunisian crowd.

1614 GMT: The families of the victims of Pan Am 103 reacted to reports of Kadhafi's death or capture with some hope that justice can be served.

"Unfortunately, the path to justice is often long and circuitous. Although today is a great day for the Libyan people and for the universal fight for freedom, our work is not done...

"And, if Kadhafi has been captured, we need to be certain that he is brought to trial, convicted and spends the rest of his life in prison.

Nevertheless, we will take a moment today to honor our family members: In their memory, we did not give up. We kept fighting for them and for some semblance of justice. Today, we take some satisfaction that justice can be done.

1555 GMT: Two of the five Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Libya for eight years over an HIV scandal have welcomed news of Moamer Kadhafi's death saying the Libyan strongman had "got what he deserved".

"The news made me very happy. It's a punishment. A dog like him deserved to die like a dog," Valya Chervenyashka told AFP in Sofia.

The nurses were tortured and twice sentenced to death under Kadhafi's regime.

Valentina Siropolu, another of the nurses who were freed in 2007, said: "I am really happy, I was expecting it. He got what he deserved."

However two others, Snezhana Dimitrova and Kristiana Valcheva, struck a different note.

"I would have been happy if he had been captured alive too," said Valcheva.

"I can't be happy about anyone's death, even my enemy," added Dimitrova.

All five said they wanted Libya's new leaders to exonerate them.

1510 GMT: French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says France is "proud" to have helped bring freedom to Libya, referring to the role of French forces in NATO action in the North African country during the seven-month conflict there.

"The announcement of the death of Kadhafi and the collapse of Sirte is the end of a very difficult period for the Libyan people," Juppe told reporters in New Delhi.

"It's the end of 42 years of tyranny, of a military conflict that has been very difficult for the Libyan people.

"It's a historic event. It's the beginning of a new period, of a democracy, freedom and the rebuilding of the country.

"France is proud to have helped the Libyan people," he added.

1503 GMT: "I think today is a day to remember all of Colonel Kadhafi's victims", including those who died in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, British Prime Minister David Cameron says in a statement outside 10 Downing Street.

Cameron also hailed Kadhafi's death as a chance for a "democratic future" for Libya.

1442 GMT: French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has hailed the 'end of tyranny' in Libya following news of the death of Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, who was killed in his hometown Sirte earlier Thursday.

1422 GMT: Senior US Senator John McCain says the death of Moamer Kadhafi marks the end of "the first phase" of Libya's revolution and called for closer ties between Washington and Tripoli.

"The death of Moamer Kadhafi marks an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution. While some final fighting continues, the Libyan people have liberated their country," the Republican lawmaker said in a statement.

1410 GMT: A mobile phone video purporting to show Kadhafi's dead body spread like wild fire among National Transitional Council fighters in Sirte before the strongman's death was officially announced.

The blurry video, which were viewed by an AFP correspondent, showed what appeared to be Kadhafi's corpse, dressed in khaki, with blood oozing from his face and neck before fighters drag and load it onto a pick up truck.

"We have taken revenge. Let him go to hell," said fighter Ali Urfulli.

1405 GMT: News that Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi waskilled in his hometown Sirte on Thursday has sparked scenes of wild joy in the ranks of new regime fighters who had crushed his final bastion of support.

"We did it! We did it!" chanted the fighters as they exchanged well-wishes, hugs and handshakes against a backdrop of intense celebratory gunfire.

"We finished Kadhafi and his people," said fighter Ali Urfulli.

1352 GMT: "I am happy I will be visiting a country fully liberated from a dictator who has imposed his iron fist for more than 40 years. Now Libya can truly turn the page," says European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek, who will begin a visit Libya on Saturday.

1340 GMT: The death of Moamer Kadhafi marks the 'end of an era of despotism', European Union president Herman Van Rompuy says in Brussels.

1327 GMT: An NTC commander says that Moamer Kadhafi's son Mutassim has also been found dead in Sirte.

1312 GMT: NATO aircraft struck two pro-Kadhafi military vehicles in the vicinity of the Libyan city of Sirte on Thursday morning, a spokesman for the alliance said in Brussels.

"At approximately 0830 local time (GMT+2) today, NATO aircraft struck two pro-Kadhafi forces military vehicles which were part of a larger group manoeuvring in the vicinity of Sirte," NATO spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie said in a statement.

1301 GMT: Veteran Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi has been killed by new regime forces in their final assault on the last pocket of resistance in his hometown Sirte, a National Transitional Council (NTC) spokesman has said.

"We announce to the world that Kadhafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution," Abdel Hafez Ghoga said.

"It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Kadhafi has met his fate," he added.

1256 GMT: A military chief with Libya's new regime NTC says Moamer Kadhafi's birthplace of Sirte has been liberated.

1250 GMT: A spokesman for Libya's new regime National Transitional Council (NTC) says Moamer Kadhafi is dead.

1240 GMT: The AFP photograph of a mobile phone camera image shows what appears to be a heavily bloodied Moamer Kadhafi during his capture in the fall of his hometown Sirte

In the grainy image, a man bearing a strong resemblance to Kadhafi is seen with blood-soaked clothing and blood daubed across his face.

1225 GMT: AFP has obtained an image which appears to show a bloodied Kadhafi captured in Sirte.

1215 GMT: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said the war in Libya is 'over', my colleagues in Rome report ANSA news agency as saying.

1207 GMT: The US government says it is unable to substantiate reports that deposed Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has been captured or killed.

"The State Department cannot at this time confirm media reports on the capture or killing of Moamer Kadhafi," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Senior administration and Pentagon officials said they were working to verify the reports.

1200 GMT: More from pro-Kadhafi Al-Libiya television's website which is denying reports that the strongman had been killed or captured.

"The reports peddled by the lackeys of NATO about the capture or death of the brother leader, Moamer Kadhafi, is baseless," said.

Kadhafi "is in good health," it added.

1155 GMT: In Sirte, medics said the defence minister in Kadhafi's ousted regime, Abu Bakr Yunis, had been killed in the final battle for the strongman's hometown.

His body was identified at the field hospital where it was brought in a pick-up truck on Thursday, Dr Abdu Rauf told AFP.

1145 GMT: My colleagues in Moscow report Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as saying Kadhafi's fate should be decided by the Libyan people.

1142 GMT: A pro-Kadhafi television website has denied the ousted strongman has been killed or captured.

1140 GMT: Reports of Kadhafi's capture emerged this morning. "He has been captured. He is badly wounded, but he is still breathing," Mohamed Leith, a commander with the NTC former rebels, told AFP, Leith said he had seen Kadhafi himself and that the former leader was wearing a khaki uniform and a turban.

Libyan TV channel "Libya lil Ahrar" also said that Kadhafi was in custody.

WELCOME TO AN AFP LIVE REPORT ON LIBYA

Stay with us for all the developments as they unfold.

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