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Libyans Celebrate the End of Dictator Qadhafi and his Regime

October 20, 2011

Libyan capital rejoicing after Gaddafi's death

by Zheng Kaijun

TRIPOLI, Oct. 20, 2011 (Xinhua) --

Libyans were indulging themselves in jubilation in a way that the country might not have seen for over 40 years, after the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) confirmed that fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed on Thursday in his hometown Sirte.

As Mahmoud Jibril, head of the NTC executive committee, told reporters that the transitional council will announce the liberation of entire Libya tonight or Friday, citizens in Tripoli are reluctant to wait for a second to mark the end of the Gaddafi era, who had ruled the North African nation for over four decades iron-handedly.

People in the capital city, either on foot or in cars, were taking to the main streets in high spirits, with ceaseless celebratory shots by machine guns as the backdrop music.

While shouting "Allah is the greatest!", "Gaddafi is gone!" or "Libya is free," almost everyone, young and old, were hugging and clapping hands with each other. Many were waving the tricolor NTC flags, in all sizes, along the street leading to the landmark Martyr's Square on the city's coastline of the Mediterranean.

The place, previously called the Green Square during Gaddafi's rule and where he used to address his supporters, became a sea of happiness and sweetness, where some people were voluntarily sending out candies to the passersby.

A young local resident, who identified himself as Buraq, told Xinhua reporters at the square that he could think of no words other than "happy" to describe his feeling, after hearing about the death of Gaddafi on TV.

Buraq said he and his friends may celebrate with the city deep into the night, adding that "Libya is going to be a better and entirely different place without Gaddafi."

Meanwhile, a young lady, whose first name is Fatimah, was singing finger-popping patriotic songs joyfully in the backseat of her friend's car, which could hardly move near the Martyr's Square due to the hundreds of sirening vehicles.

"This is a long-awaited moment for me and the whole of the Libyans," Fatimah said, showing a "V" sign as well as her charming smile to a Xinhua photographer. "This is a new page," she said.

A friend of hers in the car, who was holding a newly-printed picture featuring the moment of Gaddafi's capture, said that Libya is now totally free after a prolonged fight which involved people across the country.

"We are prepared to welcome people from all over the world to have a look at the new country," said Fatimah's friend, who had a NTC flag mantling her back.

In sharp contrast with the festivity at scene was a silent old man -- probably in his sixties, who held a picture of a young man and stood between the lines of cars in a street west of the Martyr 's Square.

"It is almost certain that the person on the picture is the fallen son of the old man," a Xinhua reporter said.

Against the bustle, the old man offered only a mild smile. But the moist rims of his eyes definitely tell more about the suffering of the country and its people in the past eight months.

Gaddafi killed in gun battle as Libya's ruling NTC controls Sirte

TRIPOLI, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) --

Libya's fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi died of wounds around Thursday noon after his capture in Sirte, after nearly two months on the run, as fighters of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) claimed control of Gaddafi's hometown.

Mahmoud Jibril, head of the NTC's executive committee, confirmed Thursday at a press conference held in Tripoli that Gaddafi, who has ruled the North African country for 42 years, was killed in his hometown Sirte, some 450 km east of Tripoli.

NTC troops had surrounded the Mediterranean coastal town of Sirte for weeks to break the last stronghold of Gaddafi. However, the NTC forces faced tough resistance of Gaddafi loyalists.

NTC field commander Momhemed Buras Ali Al-Maknee told Xinhua earlier that Gaddafi was found trying to flee by a group of NTC fighters from the western Libyan city of Misrata in Sirte, who was then severely injured.

At an evening press conference in the capital, Jibril said that Gaddafi was pulled out from a drainage hole in Sirte on Thursday morning, and that he was "completely in good health" when he was captured by NTC fighters.

Wearing his underwear and trousers and armed with a gun, Gaddafi, the former ruler of the North African country did not resist the arrest, Jibril told reporters.

Gaddafi was shot by a bullet in his right hand as he was to be sent onto a NTC pickup truck, Jibril said, stressing that he had no other injuries before the truck moved.

But when the vehicle started moving, there occurred "a cross- fire between the revolutionaries and the (Gaddafi) loyalists," when Gaddafi was shot and injured in his head, Jibril said, without confirming on whether the shot was made by the NTC fighters or Gaddafi's troops.

The senior NTC official explained that the doctor said that there was not any sign of blows or bruises on the face of Gaddafi, who was still alive a few minutes before his arrival at the hospital.

Jibril, who has repeatedly denied his link with the upcoming Libyan interim government, then said the forensic doctors have collected the DNA sample of Gaddafi. He said that the report will be attached with pictures for submission to the International Criminal Court, adding that Gaddafi's body may be buried in Libya or abroad in an undisclosed location.

Gaddafi's fourth-eldest son Mutassim also died of severe injuries in his head in Sirte, Jibril said. Mutassim was also wounded in the back and neck, he added.

Al-Maknee has earlier confirmed to Xinhua that Mutassim was killed in Sirte, several hours after his father died of wounds. The commander had earlier said Mutassim was captured alive inside the town after NTC fighters overran Sirte's Number Two neighborhood where Gaddafi's loyalists had been cornered.

The commander also said NTC fighters have encircled a place in Sirte where Gaddafi's second son Saif al-Islam was believed to be hiding.

Earlier in the day, Jibril told a press conference in Tripoli that the "liberation of Libya" will be announced tonight (Thursday) or on Friday. But Mohamed Elsaih, a senior NTC official, told reporters on Thursday evening that the announcement will be made on Saturday in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and the cradle of anti-Gaddafi protests in early 2011.

NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil confirmed Gaddafi's death during a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish semi-official Anatolia news agency reported Thursday.

The pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV broadcasted image it identified as the corpse of Gaddafi, with eyes half-open, shirt torn apart, and blood around his month and nose.

Al-Jazeera also showed a footage that Gaddafi was captured alive with bloodstain on his body, staggering under blows from armed men, seemingly NTC fighters.

Earlier al-Jazeera said NATO jets fired at a convoy of vehicles, probably with Gaddafi and his sons onboard, fleeing Sirte.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Jibril also reiterated Thursday his call for the extradition of Gaddafi's family from Algeria.

Part of Gaddafi's family, including his wife, two sons and his daughter, fled to Algeria in late August after the transitional council's forces overran Tripoli.

Libya's new rulers have repeatedly called for the return of Gaddafi's family by Algeria. But the demand was turned down by Algerian authorities who argued that Gaddafi's family was granted asylum on humanitarian grounds.

The NTC troops and the people of the war-torn country were celebrating following reports on Gaddafi's death, cheering and hoisting NTC flags, Xinhua reporters said.

The 69 year-old leader, whose forces were driven out of capital Tripoli by the ruling NTC on Aug. 23, had been "leading resistance " against his foes from an undisclosed place in Libya for the past months.

On June 27, the International Criminal Court (ICC) had issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity, and on Sept. 9, the international police agency INTERPOL issued Red Notice for the three as requested by ICC.

Gaddafi and his son Mutassim's body has been airlifted to the western Libyan city of Misrata and placed in a mosque, according to al-Jazeera.

Besides, the al-Jazeera TV footage also showed a body which it said belonged to Gaddafi's defense minister Abu Bakr Younus. Meanwhile, the NTC said the spokesman of Gaddafi, Moussa Ibrahim was captured near Sirte.

The leaders of the European Union (EU) said on Thursday Gaddafi 's death marks "the end of an era" of Libya.

"The reported death of Muammar Gaddafi marks the end of an era of despotism and repression from which the Libyan people have suffered for too long," said a joint statement by President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.

"Today Libya can turn a page in its history and embrace a new democratic future," it said.

"We call on the National Transitional Council to pursue a broad based reconciliation process which reaches out to all Libyans and enables a democratic, peaceful and transparent transition in the country," said the statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the reported death of Gaddafi marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, but there's still a long road to democracy for the country.

"Today, we can definitively say that the Gaddafi regime has come to end," Obama said in a statement delivered at the White House. He cited the government of Libya as the source, falling short of making independent confirmation of Gaddafi's death.

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