Libyan Rebels: Qaddafi’s Death – Unintentional
The death of dictator Muammar Qaddafi was not intentional, leaders of Libya’s rebel movement have announced. Spokesmen for the National Transitional Council said Qaddafi was not assassinated, but rather caught in the crossfire between rebels and his loyalists.
Earlier, the prime minister of Libya’s interim government said of Qaddafi’s death, “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time.”
The National Transitional Council’s official statement contradicts video footage that appears to show Qaddafi being beaten to death in the streets of his hometown, Sirte. It also contradicts reports from NTC sources who told Reuters that Qaddafi was captured alive and killed in custody.
Reports suggest that Qaddafi’s sons Mutassim and Saif al-Islam have been killed as well.
United States President Barack Obama said of Qaddafi’s death, “The dictator is no more. This is a momentous day in the history of Libya as a dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted.”
“Now the people of Libya have a great responsibility,” he declared.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy similarly spoke of the future. “The liberation of Sirte must signal… the start of a process… to establish a democratic system in which all groups in the country have their place and where fundamental freedoms are guaranteed,” he said.
Sarkozy led an international military offensive against Qaddafi on behalf of Libya’s rebels. French forces may have been involved in Qaddafi’s death; some reports Thursday indicated that Qaddafi attempted to flee Sirte in a convoy but was turned back by a French airstrike.