Reports claim that the long-term ruler of the oil-rich North African country has been killed while trying to evade capture as forces loyal to the country’s National Transitional Council took control of the key oil town of Sirte.
“Gaddafi is dead, absolutely dead. He was shot in both legs and in the head,” UK television station Sky quoted an NTC spokesperson as saying.
“It looks like Gaddafi and his close aides tried to flee. The freedom fighters tried to apprehend them but it looks like from the reports, which are not 100% confirmed, that as a result of the exchange of fire maybe Gaddafi was badly injured.
Middle Eastern television station Al Arabiya claims that it has been given permission by Libyan authorities to photograph Gaddafi’s body which is believed to be on its way to the coastal town of Misrata.
Al Jazeera, another Middle Eastern news station, claims to have footage of Gaddafi’s body being dragged along the ground.
Earlier, Reuters quoted National Transitional Council (NTC) official, Abdel Majid, as saying: “He’s captured. He’s wounded in both legs.”
“He’s been taken away by ambulance.”
Some sources claim that the ex-leader, ousted from power earlier this year following the onset of the Arab Spring in Libya in mid February, has been shot in the head and killed.
There is as yet no independent verification of Gaddafi’s capture or death. The NTC has yet to make any official statement on the issue.
Sky earlier quoted one of its correspondents as saying: “We have confirmation, dead or alive, that he is in the hands of the [NTC].
“The sources who have confirmed it to Sky are as authoritative as it can get outside the NTC.”
Guma el-Gamaty, a UK-based spokesperson for the NTC, wrote on Thursday on a social networking site: “A very high profile person has been captured by FF [fredom fighters] in Sirt [sic] as the city is being finally liberated! More details shortly!”
El-Gamaty later wrote on the same site: “(Gaddafi) is DEAD! End of an evil tyrant.”
Sirte is Gaddafi’s birthplace and was the last major bastion of his dwindling power before it was overrun by new government forces this week.
If Gaddafi’s capture or death is confirmed, it is likely to further bolster the country’s oil industry which continues to recover from being shut down in the wake of months of fighting.