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Colonel Gaddafi Dead: NTC Say Former Dictator Killed In Gun Battle

20/10/2011 12:41 BST | Updated 20/12/2011 10:12 GMT

Former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi has been killed, authorities there have confirmed.

Following the news Nato announced that it would be holding an emergency meeting on Thursday to decide whether it was time to end its mission in Libya.

Gaddafi reportedly attempted to break out of the under-siege town of Sirte on Thursday morning, accompanied by a few dozen bodyguards.

His convoy was intercepted by Nato, who confirmed its aircraft had been involved in strikes on military vehicles outside the town at the reported time.

Gaddafi allegedly escaped death after these attacks and ran from the wreckage towards two drainage pipes, where he and his remaining guards attempted to hide from the NTC fighters.

The former leader was discovered soon afterwards, at which point he was already wounded with gunshots to his back and legs, Reuters said.

Libya's interim prime minister said that Gaddafi was alive when his captors put him in a car to evacuate him, as shown by graphic footage caught on mobile phones and broadcast on television stations around the world.

Soon afterwards Gaddafi was reportedly shot in the head and killed in further crossfire, said the Libyan prime minister Mahmoud Jibril on Thursday evening, citing forensic evidence.

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The exact details of Gaddafi's death were still subject to some confusion, however, even as graphic pictures and video of his body were broadcast online.

Abu Bakr Yunis, the former Libyan defence minister, was also killed in the attack according to the NTC. It has also been reported by Reuters that Mutassim Gaddafi, the leader's son who was reported to be in Sirte, was killed, and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was wounded and is reportedly in hospital. The exact details as to his condition remain unknown.

Around Libya NTC fighters and civilians have celebrated the news. In Sirte fighters were seen shooting their guns in jubiliation, and there were similar scenes in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

[LIBYA CELEBRATES: IN PICTURES]

Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement outside No. 10 Downing Street that Gaddafi's death should help move Libya on to a brighter, democratic future. He also said that he was "proud" of the role that Britain's military had played in Gaddafi's downfall.

"Many, many Libyans died at the hands of this dictator and his global regime," Cameron said. "Today is a day to remember for all of Gaddafi's victims."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe also welcomed Gaddafi's death, hailing the "end of 42 years of tyranny".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Labour leader Ed Miliband and several MPs were also among those who reacted to the death.

Video also emerged of the moment that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton learned of the news via a message on a mobile phone while giving interviews in Afghanistan.

Following his death, Gaddafi's iconic golden gun was paraded by freedom fighters.

An NTC spokesman claims that the tyrant's body has arrived in Misrata, 60 miles from Sirte.

Reacting to the news, family members of those who died in the 1988 bombing of the Pan-Am 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland said that "the long trail to justice is coming to an end".

Gaddafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist, had been in hiding since August following the collapse of his regime. His whereabouts were unknown, however rumours suggested that he had fled to Sirte.

Earlier conflicting reports said that Gaddafi had been "captured", not killed. Libyan TV had quoted an NTC official who said that the tyrant had been arrested following the fall of his hometown of Sirte.