Who shot Gaddafi? New video shows blood pouring from dictator immediately before death but mystery surrounds coup de grace
- Gaddafi’s last words were ‘Do you know right from wrong?’
- Executed in front of a baying mob and body paraded through the streets…
- ….but acting Libyan PM claims Gaddafi was killed in crossfire
- Gaddafi may have launched last-ditch fightback in back of ambulance
- Bodyguard ‘killed leader’ to spare him indignity of capture
- Eccentric dictator was wearing gold pants when he was killed
- France announces end of Nato airstrikes as ‘mission is complete’
- Eldest son Saif ‘captured in Zlitan’ after arms are injured in explosions
- Body covered in plastic and stashed in freezer to keep out baying crowds
- Uncertainty over burial as wife calls for UN inquiry into husband’s death
The final bloody moments of Muammar Gaddafi’s life were still shrouded in confusion today as conflicting reports emerged about who fired the shot that actually killed him.
Libya’s deposed leader was pulled out alive from a drain under a motorway in Sirte, the city of his birthplace, where he had been hiding with a small group of bodyguards.
A clutch of videos have emerged on the internet in which he is seen begging his captors for mercy. His condition varies dramatically, with later footage showing him rambling and drenched in blood.
Wounded and terrified, Gaddafi appeared deluded to the end, asking his captors: ‘What did I do to you?’ His last words were ‘Do you know right from wrong?’
Was this the moment the dictator died? A handgun points at the head of Gaddafi who is facing the ground with his hands behind his back
Moments after the last grainy video was shot, it is believed he was killed. Initial reports suggested he had been executed by revolutionary forces in front of a baying mob.But there have been claims by rebels who witnessed the killing that Gaddafi was actually shot by one of his own bodyguards to spare him further humiliation.
It has also been suggested he was shot during a fight inside an ambulance conveying him to hospital or that he was actually caught in crossfire.
A day Libyans fought for: Gaddafi’s eyes are closed and mouth firmly shut as preparations are made for his burial
One rebel claimed that he had been killed as he put up a desperate last fight for freedom. He carried his golden revolver on him at all times, and may have pulled it from his clothes.
‘He might have been resisting. He might have struggled, tried to escape,’ a Libyan revolutionary said.
Pictures of Gaddafi’s body show a bullet hole in the temple, which supports claims he was shot at close range.
‘They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him,’ a freedom fighter said.
Gaddafi’s battered body was paraded through the streets of Sirte to the sound of celebratory gunfire and jubilant shouts.
Another video captured the corpse of the 69-year-old being dragged through the streets of Sirte, to be paraded later before celebrating crowds in the nearby port town of Misrata.
Terrified: Moments after he begged for his life, Gaddafi was shot dead by rebel fighters
The circumstances leading up to Gaddafi’s death are more clear.RAF Tornados helped launch the final airstrike by flying surveillance missions which cleared the way for French fighter jets to bomb a Gaddafi convoy.
The astonishing end for the tyrant came after he and loyalist fighters tried to flee Sirte as it was overrun by forces of the National Transitional Council.
Gaddafi was in a convoy of up to 100 vehicles which tried to break out of Sirte – the last centre of resistance after eight months of civil war – early yesterday.
The escape was spotted by Nato which launched two devastating strikes. At least 50 loyalist fighters were killed.
Injured in both legs, Gaddafi made his way with bodyguards through trees. The group hid in two concrete sewers but were spotted by rebels.
A Libyan named Salem Bakeer said that he and his comrades gave chase to Gaddafi and his small retinue of bodyguards after they fled their convoy following the airstrike.
‘At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use,’ said Bakeer.
‘Then we went in on foot. One of Gaddafi’s men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me.
Struggle: Video footage shows Gaddafi being hauled off a rebel fighter truck minutes after his capture
Arguing: Gaddafi pictured in chaotic video footage minutes before he was killed
Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. ”My master is here, my master is here”, he said, ”Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded.”
‘We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying ”What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s going on?”. Then we took him and put him in the car.’
Freelance photojournalist Holly Pickett was embedded with an ambulance. She said that she saw another ambulance carrying Gaddafi.
So close was she to the action, that she was able to pick out the bloodied body of Gaddafi. She says that he was wearing gold pants.
She tweeted: ‘From the side door, I could see a bare chest with bullet wound and a bloody hand. He was wearing gold-coloured pants.
‘At every checkpoint between Sirte and Misrata, crowds had gathered and wanted to know if we were the ambulance with Gaddafi’s body in it.
‘Upon hearing the truth, that Gaddafi was truly dead, revolutionaries at the checkpoints were beside themselves, shouting with joy.’
Celebration: Mohammed al-Bibi, seen here in a Yankees hat, points to a comrade holding Gaddafi’s golden gun. Al-Bibi is the one who found the despot in his final hiding place and duly claimed the war souvenir
Adel Samir said that Gaddafi was shot in the stomach with a a 9mm pistol. But Imad Moustaf told Global Post that Gaddafi was shot in the head and the heart.
Doctor Ibrahim Tika added: ‘Gaddafi was arrested while he was alive but he was killed later. There was a bullet and that was the primary reason for his death, it penetrated his gut. Then there was another bullet in the head that went in and out of his head.’
The claims that Gaddafi was executed in the back of an ambulance may be celebrated in Libya. But some within the new government, which is trying to establish itself on the western stage, would have preferred for Gaddafi to have been captured alive and put on trial.
It could be for this reason that Libya’s interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, said that Gaddafi was killed from a bullet to the head during crossfire between government fighters and his loyalists.
Jibril told a news conference in the capital, Tripoli, today: ‘I am going to read to you a report by the forensic doctor who examined Gaddafi.
‘It said: ”Gaddafi was taken out of a sewage pipe … he didn’t show any resistance. When we started moving him he was hit by a bullet in his right arm and when they put him in a truck he did not have any other injuries. When the car was moving it was caught in crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi forces in which he was hit by a bullet in the head”.’
Brutal end for tyrant who exported terror: Gaddafi’s body is displayed, clearly showing a bullet hole in his head
The exact circumstances around this theory are unclear. It is unlikely that bullets would have penetrated the ambulance and hit Gaddafi, who was pictured slumped against a rebel’s leg, in the head.It is also unlikely he was shot in the head before he entered the ambulance as bullets to the head almost always knock somebody off their feet killing them instantly.
This points again to the theory that Gaddafi and a bodyguard launched a fightback inside the ambulance.
CBS News correspondent David Martin claims that Gaddafi’s own bodyguard shot him, in order to spare him the indignity of being captured.
Confirmation of the death sparked wild scenes of celebration across Libya with tens of thousands taking to the streets.
Celebratory gunfire rang out across the capital, Tripoli. Cars honked their horns and people embraced each other.
In Sirte, ecstatic rebels celebrated the city’s fall after weeks of bloody siege by firing endless rounds into the sky.
Gaddafi’s death closes a chapter in the Nato-led military campaign to help rebel forces remove him from power. Ever since the fall of Tripoli, the hunt for Gaddafi had prevented rebels from claiming outright victory.
France’s defence minister announced today that the multi-million-pound bombing campaign of Libya by airforces including the RAF is now over.
‘The military operation is complete,’ said Alain Juppe, in Paris. ‘All Libyan territory is under the control of the National Transitional Council, and subject to some transitional technicalities, the Nato operation has come to an end.
‘The objective of helping the National Transitional Council to liberate their territory is now achieved,’ Mr Juppe added.
‘They will enter a phase of reconstruction, or of construction. It is about establishing the rule of law, which never existed. ‘
A meeting later today will decide the technicalities of winding up the operation which has cost British taxpayers an estimated £300 million.
Admiral Jim Stavridis made said today before a meeting of the alliance’s North Atlantic Council.that it was ‘a good day for Nato, a great day for the people of Libya’.
US president Barack Obama last night announced that the mission would ‘soon come to an end’, although Foreign Secretary William Hague struck a more cautious note.
Last moments of his life: Gaddafi’s son Mutassim lies on a sofa in pain and soaked with blood after his capture but before his death in Sirte
We will want to be sure that there are no remaining pockets of pro-Gaddafi fighters who can again become a threat to the civilian population,’ he said.
Last night it emerged that RAF Tornados helped launch the final airstrike by flying surveillance missions which cleared the way for French fighter jets to bomb a Gaddafi convoy.
There were also claims that RAF jets carried out another raid which led to the wounding of Gaddafi’s favourite son, Saif al-Islam.
The conflict has already cost British taxpayers more than £1billion and today Nato chiefs will decide whether to end the aerial campaign.
David Cameron, who had driven much of Nato’s intervention, hailed it as a moment to remember Gaddafi’s many victims, including those who died when Pan-Am flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie in 1988, policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, and those killed by the IRA using Libyan Semtex.
In a statement notably free of any hint of triumphalism, the Prime Minister said he was ‘proud’ of the role Britain played in helping the Libyan people liberate their country.
Outside 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron said: ‘People in Libya today have an even greater chance of building themselves a strong and democratic future.
‘I’m proud of the role that Britain has played in helping them to bring that about and I pay tribute to the bravery of the Libyans who have helped to liberate their country.’
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who with Mr Cameron had kept up pressure for Nato’s continued role, said Gaddafi’s death was a ‘major step on the country’s path to democracy.’
U.S. President Barack Obama said: ‘This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya.’
Nato leaders will be watching anxiously over the next few days, however, in case Gaddafi loyalists plunder stockpiled weapons to wreak bloody revenge on the rebels.
Five bodyguards were killed but one tried to save Gaddafi, telling rebels: ‘My master is here, my master is here. Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded.’
Bundled: An ambulance carries Gaddafi’s body from Sirte to Misrata
But there was to be no mercy for the man dubbed ‘The King of Kings of Africa’.
He is the first leader to be killed in the ‘Arab Spring’ wave of popular uprisings that have swept the Middle East, demanding the end of autocratic rulers and the establishment of greater democracy.
His death decisively ends a regime that had turned Libya into an international pariah.
The oil-rich nation now enters a new era, but its turmoil may not be over.
The former rebels who now rule are disorganised, face rebuilding a country stripped of institutions, and have already shown signs of infighting with divisions between geographical areas and Islamist and more secular ideologies.
Brutal: There had been fierce fighting around the drain before Gaddafi was finally killed. The body of a fighter can be seen in the dust at the centre of the screen
Already a monument: As celebrations continued, more and more graffiti appeared at the entrance to the drain where the leader was eventually found
Battleground: Bodies of suspected Gaddafi loyalists lie outside the storm drains their leader was captured
The death of Gaddafi and his son, Mutassim, who commanded loyalists in Sirte, as well as the capture of the British-educated Saif al-Islam, who was seen as the heir apparent, effectively removed any rallying point for an insurgency.
Both Gaddafi and Saif had faced international war crimes warrants and there was concern last night that unlike Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was similarly pulled from a hole where he was hiding – he eventually was hanged in Baghdad – the Libyan leader was effectively executed by the troops of a fledgling democracy.
Devastated: NATO airstrikes and revolutionary ground forces concentrated on a compound in Sirte, where they believed Gaddafi was hiding
Bombed out: Vehicles belonging to Gaddafi’s supporters sit destroyed near Sirte after NATO airstrikes
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the Lockerbie bombing, said the killing of Gaddafi meant ‘an opportunity has been lost’ to find out the truth of what happened.
‘I would have loved to have seen Gaddafi appear in front of the International Criminal Court both to answer charges against his gross treatment of his own people and of citizens murdered abroad by his thugs,’ he said.
‘But I would also have loved to have heard about what Gaddafi knew about the Lockerbie atrocity.’
Amnesty International called for an independent inquiry into the circumstances of the death.
Double celebration: Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte, but the news soon came that the leader himself had been captured
End of conflict: The fall of Sirte ends the last significant resistance by forces loyal to the deposed leader, and ends a two-month siege