The head of the Libyan military council said that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his fallen regime wrested control of his hometown of Surt after a prolonged struggle. Al-Jazeera television showed what it said was Colonel Qaddafi’s corpse as Libyans rejoiced.
Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the leader of the Tripoli military council, said on Al Jazeera that the former leader had been killed and that anti-Qaddafi forces had his body.
The report of Colonel Qaddafi’s death by the highest ranking military officer in Libya’s interim government appeared to put an end to the fierce manhunt for the former leader who remained on the lam in Libya for weeks after the fall of his government.
Libya’s interim leaders had said they believed that some Qaddafi family members — possibly including Colonel Qaddafi and several of his sons — were hiding in the coastal town of Surt or in Bani Walid, another loyalist bastion that the anti-Qaddafi forces captured several days ago.