Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed today as his hometown of Sirte fell to opposition forces. The city was the last bastion of resistance held by the 69-year-old autocrat who ruled for more than four decades.
His own people, with the support of NATO forces, mounted a revolt against him that has lasted eight months, longer than was predicted.
The news of Gadhafi’s death couldn’t have come at a better time for Cal State Long Beach student Maryam Ibrahim. Her cousin was killed Wednesday night in Sirte — just a day before Gadhafi.
He had been fighting Gadhafi forces for eight months.
"That was really sad," Ibrahim told Larry Mantle, "but this morning we woke up and got this amazing news. It’s such sweet justice for my family because they’re burying him today knowing that it wasn’t in vain.”
Ibrahim said she regrets Gadhafi wasn’t captured alive to face his crimes, but said his death might make it easier for the country to move forward.
Mahmoud Jabril, a leader of the National Transitional Council, the interim Libyan government, did not have details of Gadhafi's death, though Jabril told a news conference that he was confident a NATO strike was not responsible. In a statement from NATO's Libya operations headquarters, a spokesman confirmed that an airstrike had attacked Libyan military vehicles, but did not know who may have been in them.
Another Libyan transitional leader, Mohamed Benrasali, had a different account of Gadhafi's death – that he had been captured by fighters, but was badly injured and died soon after. His death is the latest in a series of incidents that have transformed the Middle East and North Africa, including the overthrow of dictatorships in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. The deposed leader refused to give up even after his government was overthrown, vowing to hunt down rebels “alley by alley.”
What is the reaction in Libya and around the world? Is the fight over Libya over? How stable is the leadership? What’s next?
Borzou Daragahi, Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times
Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress and to the Center for Defense Information; adjunct professor at Georgetown University; former Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan administration (1981-1985)
Maryam Ibrahim, graduate assistant at Cal State Long Beach, daughter of opposition leader Ibrahim Jabreel