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Thursday
Oct202011

Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Qaddafi Captured --- Is He Dead?

See also Libya Snap Analysis: Three Down --- How Many To Go?
Libya Video: The Moment When Muammar Qaddafi Was Seized
Libya Video: The Man Who Found Qaddafi Tells His Story
Friday's Libya, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Goodbye to Qaddafi, Hello to....?


2059 GMT: Anti-Assad slogans chanted in the Deir Bielbe district of Homs, Syria:

2055 GMT: The people of the Khalidiya section of Homs in Syria, chant, "Now it's your turn, Bashar al Assad!"

2048 GMT: Qaddafi's eldest and most important (and dangerous) son, Saif al Islam, is still unaccounted for. The NTC is now saying that he has escaped Sirte.

However, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and his son Muatasim Qaddafi have been killed. Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley reports from district 2 of Sirte, where Qaddafi made his last stand:

2028 GMT: The people of Homs, Syria, protest against the government and celebrate the fall of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi:

2003 GMT: Though the Arab League has taken upon itself to try to negotiate a peace in Syria, at least 5 more civilians were killed today. AFP reports:

Violence in Syria has intensified in recent weeks as defections from the army reportedly increase, and at least five civilians died in Thursday's violence, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"Violent clashes today pitted troops to gunmen believed to be army deserters" in Burhaniya, near the town of Qusayr in central Homs province, said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads rights watchdog. He quoted residents as saying "several soldiers were killed and wounded and two military vehicles were destroyed," but was unable to give a precise casualty toll.

Abdel Rahman told AFP power, water and communication had been cut off in Qusayr on Thursday.

1944 GMT: Fighters from Misurata post this video, reportedly showing the body of Colonel Qaddafi's son, Muatasim:

1852 GMT: According to Al Jazeera, Reuters reports:

NATO says it will end the Libya mission in co-ordination with the UN and the NTC, and urges Libyans to put aside differences.

1819 GMT: A longer, clearer video, shows a Muammar Qaddafi who is alive but clearly bleeding. Initially, he is on the hood of a car, but is then brought off the car. IT appears as though he is being attacked by the NTC fighters around him.

Behind the car, there are armed vehicles with machine guns. One report is that a French plane struck the convoy before NTC fighters engaged it on foot. The official narrative, however, is still being constructed, and each one we have read has some contradictory details:

1759 GMT: Protesters in Homs, Syria, chant "Death of Qaddafi is a lesson for all tyrants."

1756 GMT: President Obama will address the nation at 1800 GMT. The live feed is below:

1749 GMT: Libyan activists post this Al Jazeera Arabic footage of Qaddafi's body arriving in Misurata:

1735 GMT: This picture has been floating on Twitter. It appears to show the dead body of Muammar Qaddafi. There is no apparent gunshot wound to the chest, but bruises and cuts can be seen on his face. We apologize for the graphic nature of these pictures, but they are essential for verifying these reports. Seeing is believing:

1730 GMT: This is the first photo that we have seen that claims to show Muatassim Qaddafi, apparently dead in a hospital:

1725 GMT: The AP has posted an eyewitness account of the end of Colonel Qaddafi:

Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a doctor who was part of the medical team that accompanied the body in the ambulance and examined it, said Gadhafi died from two bullet wounds, to the head and chest. "You can't imagine my happiness today. I can't describe my happiness," he told The Associated Press. "The tyranny is gone. Now the Libyan people can rest."

Footage aired on Al-Jazeera television showed Gadhafi was captured wounded but alive in Sirte. The goateed, balding Gadhafi, in a bloodsoaked shirt and his face bloodied, is seen standing upright being pushed along by fighters, and he appears to struggle against them, stumbling and shouting. The fighters push him onto the hood of a pickup truck, before dragging him away, apparently toward an ambulance.

Later footage showed fighters rolling Gadhafi's body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and his head bloody.

There were conflicting reports over the circumstance of Gadhafi's last hours. But most accounts agreed Gadhafi had been barricaded in with his heavily armed loyalists in the last few buildings they held in his Mediterranean coastal hometown of Sirte, furiously battling with revolutionary fighters closing in on them Thursday. At one point, a convoy tried to flee the area and was blasted by NATO airstrikes, but [prime minister Mahmoud] Jibril specified Gadhafi was not killed by the strike.

1720 GMT: The AP is reporting that Qaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, is wounded but in custody in a hospital, but Qaddafi's other son, Muatassim, has been killed in Sirte. These are unconfirmed reports coming from NTC officials.

1710 GMT: According to an EA source, the people of Markuban, Bahrain, heard the news about Colonel Qaddafi and formed their own protest, shouting "."Bahrain don't worry, Hamad (King of Bahrain) will be after Qaddafi."

1639 GMT: For the people of Homs, Syria, their revolution is far from over. This video reportedly shows an all-female protest in Inshaat, Homs:

1635 GMT: The head of the NTC, Mahmoud Jabril, says that the figthing is not over:

"There is fighting going on in Wadi al-Ather," he said. "The revolutionaries have attacked an armed convoy. We suspect that Seif might be in the convoy," he said, referring to the last remaining top figure in Gaddafi's regime.

1623 GMT: A loyal reader forwards us this video, reportedly showing Muammar Qaddafi at the moment of his arrest. He appears to be standing by his own power:

1609 GMT: The Guardian posts this graphic video, reportedly showing Colonel Qaddafi loaded onto a truck. He appears to be dead, but it is nearly impossible to tell from the cellphone video:

1535 GMT: Guma al-Gamaty, a spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council, has said that Muammar Qaddafi was wounded but still speaking when he was captured. The former Libyan leader died of a head wound as he was being transported by ambulance.

1530 GMT: In Douma near the Syrian capital Damascus, a large crowd attends the funeral of Alaa Aldeen Daas, slain by security forces:

1510 GMT: Reuters is reporting, from a senior NTC military official, that Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of the former Libyan leader, has been encircled by National Transitional Council fighters as he fled Sirte in a convoy.

1505 GMT: Al Arabiya has posted video of Qaddafi's body on the top of a truck that was carrying him to Misurata, according to the AP. That matches other reports that Qaddafi's body has been taken to a mosque in Misurata, but that is hardly confirmed as there have also been contradictory reports. We have not seen that video.

1454 GMT: Al Jazeera Arabic posts this video (graphic, but needs to be seen) reportedly showing the body of former Qaddafi defense minister Abu Bakr Yunis who was reportedly killed while fleeing Sirte in a convoy. His death is not confirmed.

1447 GMT: Reuters Tweets:

Reuters witness sees video of captured Gaddafi son Mo'Tassim, lying on bed, covered in blood, but alive

1439 GMT: Few in the international community will be saddened by the death of a ruthless dictator in Libya, but now that Qaddafi's death has been confirmed, and now the video has been released, a nagging question comes to mind: was Qaddafi killed before or after he was captured? What message is the NTC sending Qaddafi's supporters by dragging the deposed leaders body through the street?

1432 GMT: A higher quality video of Muammar Qaddafi's body has been posted, this one by Al Jazeera English (now at top of entry).

1416 GMT: The video we have all been waiting for. Al Jazeera Arabic posts this, Muammar Qaddafi, dead, being dragged through the streets of Sirte:

1357 GMT: Foreign Policy Magazine posts this photo, an NTC fighter in Sirte in possession of Qaddafi's golden gun:

1353 GMT: A screenshot of Muammar Qaddafi's body:

 

 

1347 GMT: Muammar Qaddafi is dead. We have just seen images, video on Al Jazeera, of the body of the former Libyan leader.

1342 GMT: Among the many rumors from Libya is a report that Colonel Qaddafi was hiding inside this drainage ditch. A dead loyalist can be seen sitting on the ground as NTC fighters point into the hole:

1322 GMT: MSNBC posts this live feed from Sirte:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

1306 GMT: NTC officials, according to Reuters, are confirming that the picture that we put below is in fact Colonel Qaddafi.

Al Jazeera reporters in Sirte say that they have seen video of Qaddafi being captured. He appeared injured, but he was alive. What has happened to him after that remains unknown.

1302 GMT: Libyan activists have published a picture that they say is the body of former Qaddafi defense minister, Abu Baker Younis. It is graphic.

1253 GMT: A photo AFP/Getty image, which Getty credits as the work of Philippe Desmazes, claiming to show a badly injured Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

Attached to the photo is a story, from NTC officials, via Reuters:

National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters earlier that Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.

"He was also hit in his head," the official said. "There was a lot of firing against his group and he died." There was no independent confirmation of his remarks.

1248 GMT: NATO is confirming that it attacked a convoy that was leaving Sirte. However, it is unknown whether Qaddafi was inside the convoy:

Col. Roland Lavoie, spokesman for NATO's operational headquarters in Naples, Italy, says the alliance's aircraft Thursday morning struck two vehicles of pro-Gadhafi forces "which were part of a larger group maneuvering in the vicinity of Sirte."

NATO officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance to alliance rules, said the alliance also could not independently confirm whether Gadhafi was killed or captured.

1242 GMT: According to Al Jazeera, Abdelhakim Bel Haj, the NTC military chief, has confirmed Colonel Qaddafi's death. There are also reports that Qaddafi's body has been taken to a "secret location," perhaps to Misrata.

There are still no 100% confirmed pictures of the deposed Libyan leader. Until we see those, these are still just reports and rumors, though some are credible rumors.

1236 GMT: A new picture has begun to circulate, reportedly shwoing a badly injured Muammar Qaddafi. The AFP/Getty Images posts this version, taken by "PHILIPPE DESMAZES," but this version of the image is also spreading. We cannot confirm or deny.

An EA Correspondent adds this: "Al Jazeera is now speaking to Abdul Hakim Belhaj: Gaddafi captured, in rebel hands, now on his way to Misurata."

1223 GMT: A picture claiming to be a dead Colonel Muammar Qaddafi has been circulating. A reverse image search reveals that the image first surfaced in May (or earlier) and appears to be a fake edited version of a different man who appears to have been killed. It is fake. That's the only part of this story we can confirm

1213 GMT: So, while we wait, and while wild rumors swirl about Qaddafi and Libya, we turn to Bahrain.

The Bahrain Commission report, commissioned to investigate the events of February and March where protesters were killed and arrested in widespread unrest, has been delayed to November 23. Just yesterday, the Bahraini regime misquoted British Foreign Sectretary William Hague in order to brag about this commission, citing it as an example of reform.

1206 GMT: NPR's Andy Carvin has already found a rumor, reportedly from an NTC soldier, that Qaddafi was discovered "in a hole" and was shot to death. This directly contradicts a report from Al Jazeera that Qaddafi may have been killed while fleeing Sirte in a convoy.

Which is exactly my point. All of these reports are rumors. The world has been bit by rumors before. So far, all the news circuits are relying on are sources inside the National Transitional Council, and much of those reports are, so far, contradictory.

James Miller takes the liveblog.

1142 GMT: According to Reuters:

The US State Department on Thursday said it could not confirm that deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been captured and wounded in both legs.

"We've seen the media reports but can't confirm them," State Department spokeswoman Beth Gosselin told Reuters.

1140 GMT: According to senior National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been captured and wounded in both legs during the final fight over Sirte.

 

"He's captured. He's wounded in both legs ... He's been taken away by ambulance," Majid said by telephone.

The US response, from State Department spokeswoman Beth Gosselin: "We've seen the media reports but can't confirm them."

An NTC official has said that the head of Qaddafi's armed forces, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr, was killed during the capture of the former leader.

1132 GMT: James Bays of Al Jazeera English reports that Ahmed Ibrahim, the cousin of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, has been captured near Sirte.

1130 GMT: Fourteen women, arrested last month during protests at City Center Mall in the Bahraini capital Manama, have been given six-month prison sentences.

Six other women were acquitted.

The women have claimed that they were abused during detention. Some were photographed, just after they were seized, with their hands bound behind their backs, lying in the parking lot of the mall.

1110 GMT: Back from an academic break to find the news that Sirte, the last stronghold of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, has fallen to forces of the National Transitional Council.

"Sirte has been liberated. There are no Gaddafi forces any more," said Colonel Yunus Al Abdali, head of operations in the eastern half of the city. "We are now chasing his fighters who are trying to run away."

NTC fighters raised the red, black and green national flag above a large utilities building, as celebratory gunfire broke out. Hundreds of NTC fighters gathered in the centre of Sirte shouting "Allahu Akbar", firing guns into the air and dancing in the streets.

About 40 vehicles carrying around 100 Gaddafi loyalists broke the siege early on Thursday morning and headed west. Dozens of NTC pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns pursued, and the sound of shooting could be heard.

0650 GMT: Today's Good News Alert from the Bahraini regime:

 

Bahrain has succeeded in preserving its status as a major investment destination, despite challenges. "The kingdom still enjoys that glittering investment aura, braving all the challenges it confronted," His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa said yesterday.

 

He credited the strong resolve of Bahrainis which defied all challenges resulting from domestic, regional and global events.

 

0645 GMT: The Washington Post posts a cautionary tale of American aid to Egypt in the years of President Mubarak:

 

Beginning two decades ago, the United States government bankrolled an Egyptian think tank dedicated to economic reform. A different outcome is only now becoming visible in the fallout from Egypt’s Arab Spring.

 

Formed with a $10 million endowment from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies gathered captains of industry in a small circle — with the president’s son Gamal Mubarak at the center. Over time, members of the group would assume top roles in Egypt’s ruling party and government.

 

0505 GMT: Ahead of Tunisia's elections for a Constitutional Assembly on Sunday, The New York Times profiles Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the leader of the Islamist party al-Nahda:

 

Mr. Ghannouchi, long a seminal figure in the Arab and Muslim world, believes that the Arab revolts have allowed the region to imagine a different future. At 70, he walks slower these days and pauses before he answers, aware, it seems, of what this moment represents in the old conflict between political Islam and secular authoritarianism.

 

“The situation today is different,” he said recently.

As if struck by the idea, he repeated the phrase three times.

Tunisia “is going to be a democratic society, a model in the Arab world,” he said, after a recent conference in Istanbul, where some of Turkey’s conservative leaders look to him as an inspiration and an ally. “The direction of Tunisia’s future is that it will be open to the entire world.”

 

0500 GMT: In his speech on Wednesday, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh continued to stall over his general commitment to transfer power, saying he would sign the deal only if the US, European countries, and Gulf Arab states gave him unspecified guarantees.

Saleh declared in the televised statement, "Now that the president has returned, they say there is no need for the vice president to sign. Fine, I am ready to sign. But provide guarantees to implement this initiative. We want Gulf guarantees, first, second, European guarantees and third American guarantees. These three guarantees must accompany the Gulf initiative."

0450 GMT: The New York Times gives more detail on the case of three filmmakers (see Wednesday's LiveBlog with video) detained in Saudi Arabia for posting video to YouTube about poverty in the Kingdom:

 

A popular Saudi video blogger was detained this week, along with his crew, after his report on poverty in the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, was viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, human rights activists said.

 

The blogger, Feras Bugnah, was arrested on Sunday with his colleagues Hosam al-Deraiwish and Khaled al-Rasheed, in connection with the latest episode of their online show, “We Are Being Cheated,” according to the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association.

The group said that the team’s video report on conditions in an impoverished district of Riyadh, which has been viewed more than 800,000 times, “contained realistic scenes, interviews and comments that are all considered familiar to the majority of Saudi society.” In a statement condemning the arrests, the group also accused the kingdom’s interior ministry of “trying to control the new Internet media” and sending a message to other young Saudis not to initiate such projects....

The report was the fourth episode of the show posted on YouTube in the past two months. Each of the slickly produced short videos features Mr. Bugnah on camera, narrating the reports and interacting with his interview subjects in a lighthearted but impassioned style not unlike that of the American filmmaker Michael Moore. Mr. Bugnah’s look at poverty in Riyadh blends comedy with activism right from the start, as he first asks well-off residents of the city if they are doing well. When they reply that they are, he then cuts to impoverished children who say, no, they are not doing well.

 

0440 GMT: Twenty-four hours ago, we wrote, "The list [of challenges to the regime] does not yet include signficant shows of opposition in the centre of Damascus and Syria's second city, Aleppo. If it does, we will know --- for all the regime's efforts to suppress the challenge in Homs and scrambling to cover other locations --- we are beyond a case of [the regime] nailing jelly to the wall."

Well, we got a loud response from supporters of President Assad on Wednesday. Tens of thousands turned out in Aleppo to --- in the words of Syria State news agency SANA, which claimed 1 1/2 million on the streets --- "voice support to Syria's independent decisions, rejecting foreign interference". The agency continued:

 

National flags fluttered and national banners on unity and amity were held high in an amazing panoramic picture of the Syrians' great love for their homeland. Loud voices, chanting slogans that warn of misleading media and false news aimed at spreading chaos in the country, [were] raised by the gathered people who called for preventing conspirers from achieving their goals.

 

An opposition banner, in Kafranbel in the northwest, offered this cynical if amusing response: "Aleppo Won't Rise, Even If We Give It Viagra":

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