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Oct 20th, 2011


Conflicting Stories of Gadhafi’s Demise

Rebel fighters catch up with deposed dictator hiding in drainage pipe

Image: Tunnel where Moammar Gadhafi is claimed to have been found
A Libyan fighter inspects a tunnel where Moammar Gadhafi is claimed to have been found outside Sirte, Libya, on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. (Photo credit: David Sperry / AP)


October 20, 2011

SIRTE, Libya — Disturbing images of a blood-stained and shaken Moammar Gadhafi being jostled by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world after the Libyan dictator’s dramatic death near his home town of Sirte.

The exact circumstances of his demise are still unclear with conflicting accounts of his death circulating. But the footage, possibly of the last chaotic moments of Gadhafi’s life, offered some clues into what happened.

Gadhafi was still alive when he was captured near Sirte. In the video, filmed by a bystander in the crowd and later aired on television around the world, Gadhafi is shown being dragged off a vehicle’s hood and pulled to the ground by his hair.

“Keep him alive, keep him alive!” someone shouts. Gunshots then ring out. The camera veers off.

“They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him,” one senior source in Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council told Reuters. …

Gadhafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42 years of one-man rule “rats,” but in the end it was he who was captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of garbage and filth. …

On the ground, government fighters and the scenes of sheer carnage nearby told the story of the dictator’s final hours.

Shortly before dawn prayers on Thursday, Gadhafi, surrounded by a few dozen loyal bodyguards and accompanied by the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr, broke out of the two-month siege of Sirte and made a break for the west.

But they did not get far.

U.S. officials told NBC News that a Predator drone fired a Hellfire missile and a NATO warplane also launched a missile at the 15-vehicle convoy about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, destroying several vehicles and scattering the rest. …

Some two miles west of Sirte, 15 pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns lay burned out, smashed and smoldering next to an electricity substation some 20 yards from the main road. …

Inside the trucks still in their seats sat the charred skeletal remains of drivers and passengers killed instantly by the strike. Other bodies lay mutilated and contorted strewn across the grass, some 50 bodies in all.

Gadhafi himself and a handful of his men escaped death and appeared to have run through a stand of trees toward the main road and hid in the two drainage pipes.

But a group of government fighters were on their tail. …

Full story

Video

Former Libyan dictator Gadhafi dies near Sirte (NBC Nightly News, Oct. 20, 2011) – Disturbing images of a blood-stained Moammar Gadhafi circulated around the world after the man who ran Libya for 42 years met a violent end near his home town of Sirte. NBCs Richard Engel has more. (03:27)

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Related reports on this site

Battle for Tripoli Has Begun (Aug. 21, 2011)

Gadhafi Kin Killed in Airstrike (April 30, 2011)

Barack Obama’s Libya Speech (March 28, 2011)

Libya Update (March 26, 2011)

Gadhafi Suffers Heavy Losses (March 20, 2011)

Libya Air War Begins (March 19, 2011)

NATO Ultimatum to Gadhafi (March 18, 2011)

Libya No-Fly Zone, Airstrikes Imminent (March 17, 2011)

Libyan Rebels Advance on Tripoli (March 5, 2011)

Gadhafi Steers Libya to Civil War (Feb. 22, 2011)

Deadly Crackdown in Libya (Feb. 20, 2011)

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

One Year Ago — October 20, 2010

CIA Report: Balawi Intelligence Failure

One year ago today, I reported that an internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency documented a litany of intelligence breakdowns leading to the Dec. 30, 2009 suicide attack in Afghanistan by Jordanian double agent Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi that killed seven CIA employees.

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Two Years Ago — October 20, 2009

Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties

Two years ago today, on October 20, 2009, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

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Three Years Ago — October 20, 2008

Campaign Against Bachmann Builds Momentum

Three years ago today, on October 20, 2008, I featured a television interview I did the previous day with KMSP Fox 9 in the Twin Cities, rebuking Rep. Michele Bachmann for her “anti-American” comments on MSNBC “Hardball” with Chris Matthews.

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