Gadhafi's death answers four-year-old girl's prayers

Story highlights

  • Dozens of Libyans gathered outside embassy in London to celebrate Gadhafi's death
  • Crowds chanted, cheered, sang and waved Libyan flag to celebrate dictator's end
  • Four-year-old girl had spent months praying for Gadhafi's death
  • Family says Selsabeel Ageli's grandfather was murdered by Gadhafi regime

With her cheeky grin and bright, mischievous eyes, it is hard to imagine that four-year-old Selsabeel Ageli has spent months wishing for the death of an elderly man.

But the British-Libyan youngster has done just that, going to bed every night in recent months praying that ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi would be killed.

On Thursday, Selsabeel's wishes came true.

The deposed tyrant was the reason Selsabeel never knew her grandfather, Libyan trade unionist Amer Deghayes. The family says he was murdered by the Gadhafi regime when her mother was a child, prompting them to flee to Britain.

Within hours of the news of Gadhafi's death, Selsabeel and her older sister Bilquees, aged eight, and their parents were among a jubilant crowd of former Libyan dissidents celebrating noisily outside the Libyan Embassy in central London.

"My father was killed by Gadhafi in 1980 when I was five," the girls' mother, Amani Deghayes, told CNN as her daughters waved Libyan flags nearby.

"They never got to meet him, so I am so glad that my kids have been able to see that there is a happy ending to this story.

"I never thought it would happen, really. Now I just hope that everything works out, and that Libya can become a stable, free and democratic country."

That is a wish echoed by many of those who gathered at the embassy, amid the beeping of car horns and waving of flags, to sing, chant and wish each other "Mabrouk" -- congratulations -- over Gadhafi's final downfall.

Mahmoud Al Nacua, Libya's ambassador to the UK, told those gathered: "Libyan freedom fighters have finally succeeded in throwing the curtain on Gadhafi's crimes.

"Their brave actions have spared Libya and the world from any further suffering of his evils. Today Libya's future begins. Gadhafi, a black era, has come to an end forever."

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Consulate worker Abdusalam Zbida told CNN he hopes to be able to return to his homeland to visit family for the first time in five years following Gadhafi's death.

"It is a big day for Libyan history," said Zbida. "It will definitely help restore peace and security in Libya. I hope it will be a fresh start."

Others who have not been in London as long are also hoping to go back to their friends and loved ones soon.

"It's been a tough couple of months, but things are getting better," said Amira Elgardi, whose husband and parents are still in Libya.

"We have a three-and-a-half-year old son, and we decided that with all the gunshots and everything it would be safer here, but hopefully we will be able to go back soon -- Inshallah [God willing]."

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They and many others spoke of their relief that Gadhafi's long reign of terror in Libya is finally over.

"I'm so excited -- look, I'm trembling," said Sana Maziq, who moved to London from Tripoli with her three young sons seven months ago to escape the trouble there.

"We knew that Gadhafi was basically finished, but it is so nice to know that there won't be any more bloodshed."

"We can't quite believe it," added her friend Aida Shebani. "The regime had gone, but Gadhafi still made us afraid, so now we are so happy. The Libyan people really suffered under him, so we deserve this happiness."