NEWS

Gaddafi Killed: Libyans Celebrate Final Fall Of Hated Dictator

20/10/2011 19:13 | Updated 20 December 2011

Libyans around the world have celebrated the death of former dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi, who was removed from power in August, was killed following an assault on his birthplace town of Sirte, his last remaining stronghold.

The National Transitional Council (NTC) said that Gaddafi, who ruled over Libya for more than 40 years, had been killed following an attempt to escape the besieged town was stopped by Nato bombers.

The former leader had attempted to flee but was wounded in a gun battle before finally being shot and killed.

Following the news NTC fighters in Sirte fired their guns in the air in celebration, and there were similar scenes of jubilation in the capital Tripoli.

[LIBYA CELEBRATES: IN PICTURES]

Fireworks marked the news in the capital, while fighters and civilians poured into Martyr's Square waving the flags of the new country.

Similar scenes of joy and celebration were reported in Tunisia and other Arab countries, where many exiled Libyans still live.

Outside the Libyan embassy in London people celebrated the news by chanting and waving flags, while passing cars sounded their horns in solidarity.

"I am here to celebrate Gaddafi’s death,” said Abdurrezafh Mohamed, a 28-year-old student living in Fulham, at the embassy in Knightsbridge. "He killed our people, he killed our children and he put people in prison for no reason. Today, I feel I can fly.”

In Syria, protesters standing against President Bashar al-Assad's regime celebrated Gaddafi's fall, and said that the "rat of Libya has been caught" and that the "germ of Syria" was next.

"Rose", a resident of Homs, told the activist group Avaaz today: "People are hoping that having Gaddafi caught means there will be more international media attention on Syria, and possibly more help for Syria, as the operation has now been accomplished in Libya.

"Lots of people have joined rallies today, holding up placards with statements saying "the rat of Libya has been caught, next is the germ of Syria" and saying how the Libyans will now come to help, especially from Misrata, to support the Free Syrian Army."

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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 and killed in further crossfire, said the Libyan prime minister Mahmoud Jibril on Thursday evening, citing forensic evidence.

World leaders welcomed the news, with American president Barack Obama hailing that the "dark shadow of tyranny has finally been lifted".

"This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny," Obama said, speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House.

"This is a momentous day in the history of Libya."

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".

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