POSTED: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 7:45am
UPDATED: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 1:16am
SIRTE, Libya — Deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi died of wounds suffered in his capture near his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, a senior National Transitional Council military official and a government minister said.
The military official, Abdel Majid Mlegta, had told Reuters earlier that Gadhafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes had attacked.
"He was also hit in his head," said Mlegta. "There was a lot of firing against his group and he died."
Asked if there was photographic evidence to prove that Gadhafi was dead, Mlegta said: "We have the footage but it is not available now."
However, the AFP news agency provided a photograph that appeared to show a wounded or dead Gadhafi. The image has not been independently verified.
Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told the AP that he had confirmed that Gadhafi was dead from fighters who said they saw the body.
Past reports of Gadhafi family deaths or captures have later proven incorrect.
NATO and the U.S. State Department said they could not confirm the reports, but were attempting to find out exactly what had happened.
"We are checking and assessing the situation,"' a NATO official said. "Clearly these are very significant developments, which will take time to confirm. If it is true, then this is truly a historic day for the people of Libya.''
Mlegta reported Gadhafi's death after Libyan interim government fighters took Sirte on Thursday, extinguishing the last significant resistance by forces loyal to the former leader and ending a two-month siege.
NATO warplanes struck the convoy and hit four cars as it headed west, Mlegta said, adding that the head of Gadhafi's armed forces Abu Bakr Younus Jabr had been killed during the attack.
Ahmed Ibrahim, a cousin and adviser of Gadhafi, was captured along with former government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, he added.
A Libyan government fighter gave an apparently different account of Gadhafi's capture to the one provided by Mlegta. The unnamed fighter claimed Gadhafi was hiding in a hole, shouting, "Don't shoot, don't shoot," when he was caught.
Report from MSNBC.com