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Libyans cheered the fate of ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi into the early hours of Friday after his death in what Libya’s transitional prime minister described as a crossfire that followed his arrest by revolutionary forces.
“This is a time to start a new Libya, with a new economy, with a new education and with a new health system – with one future,” Mahmoud Jibril, Libya’s transitional prime minister, said after proclaiming Gadhafi’s death.
Gadhafi was captured alive and unharmed as troops from the National Transitional Council overran his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, Jibril said. But a gunbattle erupted between transitional council fighters and Gadhafi’s supporters as his captors attempted to load him into a vehicle, Jibril said, leaving Gadhafi with a wound to his right arm.
More shooting erupted as the vehicle drove away, and Gadhafi – who ruled Libya for nearly 42 years before rebel forces overthrew him in August – was hit in the head, Jibril said, Gadhafi died moments before arriving at a hospital in Misrata, Jibril said, citing the city’s coroner.
Grainy video broadcast on Arabic satellite networks captured some of the onetime Libyan strongman’s last moments, as the bloodied but still-alive Gadhafi was being hauled onto a truck. Another video showed a dead Gadhafi with what appeared to be a head wound.