Deposed Libyan leader Gadhafi is dead

Celebrations broke out in the streets of Libya's capital as people learned of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi's reported death. (Source: CNN)
Celebrations broke out in the streets of Libya's capital as people learned of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi's reported death. (Source: CNN)

SIRTE, LIBYA (RNN) - Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebel fighters Thursday morning in his hometown of Sirte.

"The Libyan freedom fighters have finally succeeded in drawing the curtain on Gadhafi's crimes. Their brave actions have spared Libya and the world from any further suffering of his evils," said Mahmoud Al Nacoua, Libyan ambassador to the United Kingdom. "Today, Libya - Libya's future - begins. Gadhafi's black era has come to an end - forever."

Interim Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril also confirmed the news to reporters in Tripoli.

Revolutionary forces across the nation rejoiced in the streets Thursday with celebratory music and gunfire, CNN reported.

Gadhafi's violent reign began 42 years ago

Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi came to power in a bloodless coup against King Idris in 1969.

At the time, Gadhafi was an army captain.  

In 1986, Libya was implicated in a fatal bombing at a West Berlin nightclub that left one American service member dead.

After the incident, then President Ronald Reagan dubbed Gadhafi the "mad dog of the Middle East."

Reagan ordered the U.S. to bomb Libya, and he imposed economic sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation.

The latest effort to force Gadhafi from power began within his own country in February.

The Libyan leader vowed to never leave Libya, and to "die as a martyr at the end."

Copyright 2011 CNN. All rights reserved.

According to the Associated Press, the Misrata Military Council, one of multiple command groups for revolutionary forces, said its fighters captured Gadhafi in Sirte.

Libyan leaders have now informed the U.S. of the kill, according to the news agency. But neither the White House nor the State Department has yet issued comment.

"I think it is 100 percent confirmed," said Sen. John McCain during an 11 a.m. interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"The world is a better place, and the Libyan people now have a chance. But this is just the beginning. We know how hard democracy is, and they're going to need a lot of assistance."

A cell phone photo published by the Associated Foreign Press depicts what is believed to be a seriously injured and bloodied Gadhafi, but the identity of the man picture has yet to be confirmed.

"He is now dead," said Guma El-Gamaty, a Libyan political activist, during an appearance on CNN. "This is the end of the violent tyrant Gadhafi."

Speaking from London, El-Gamaty said Gadhafi was captured in or near a building in Sirte that was still under loyalist control. El-Gamaty said he believes Gadhafi was inside a building that was stormed by freedom fighters, and he was injured from the fire fight.

Gadhafi later died from head wounds while in route to Misrata, according to El-Gamaty, who is also a former representative to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC).

"We have confirmation ... that this is the case, and Gadhafi is dead," he said.

Anees al-Sharif, spokesman for AbdelHakim Belhajj of the Tripoli military council, said one of Gadhafi's sons and his chief of intelligence were also killed in Thursday's reign, according to CNN.

Several previous reports of Gadhafi family member deaths or captures have later proved false, because of poor communications in Libya.

"We've had a bunch of those before," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she first received word of Gadhafi's passing. "We've had him captured several times."

Clinton's reaction, which was captured on tape, made headlines Thursday morning.

After just six months of fighting between Gadhafi's forces and rebels, on Aug. 22, it seemed that the situation in Libya had reached a tipping point.

"This much is clear: The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people," President Barack Obama said in taped remarks from a vacation home in Martha's Vineyard.

Gadhafi has ruled Libya for more than 42 years following a successful military coup.

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