On The Scene In Tripoli: Reports Of Gadhafi's Demise

Oct 20, 2011
Originally published on October 20, 2011 11:50 am
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. The long-time leader of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, is dead. He was killed today as rebel forces overran his hometown of Sirte. Gadhafi ruled Libya for 42 years until he fled the capital, Tripoli, in August amid the revolution that toppled his regime. And throughout this morning, a dramatic image appeared on TV and websites, an image of a man said to be Gadhafi, bleeding profusely, dying or dead. NPR News producer Grant Clark is in Tripoli and joins us by telephone. And Grant, what are Libyan officials there saying about how Gadhafi died?

GRANT CLARK, BYLINE: Well, Renee, just moments ago the interim prime minister of the Transitional National Council, Mahmoud Jibril, held a press conference in Tripoli saying - announcing officially that the deposed leader was dead. He refused to answer any questions from the media about the details of the killing. He said that forensic experts were working on the body right now and would release the findings shortly, but he wouldn't be drawn into any questions about who might've been responsible, whether it was fighters or whether it was a NATO bomb that actually led to Colonel Gadhafi's death.

MONTAGNE: And we've been seeing celebrations in the streets all morning, and you've been there in Tripoli. What are people saying to you?

CLARK: Well, in many cases, a few people that I spoke to couldn't even - weren't even able to express their elation. They just are happy beyond words. For them, this is a moment, a profound moment that they've been waiting, for some of them, all their lives for, especially the younger folk. And they - there's no real thinking beyond this moment really than to really show what this means politically, but they just - people are celebrating in the streets. There are throngs and throngs of people out, cars honking, crowds waving flags and lots of fighters firing off their weapons in the air as acts of celebration.

MONTAGNE: And just ever so briefly, is this the end for Gadhafi and his regime?

CLARK: It would appear so. You know, barring any last minute surprises, it would seem that according to the National Transitional Council, this is the end. They're preparing to move ahead, get the interim government set up, and to move to the next phase of the revolution. So it would seem this is the end for now.

MONTAGNE: Grant, thank you very much.

CLARK: OK, Renee.

MONTAGNE: NPR News producer Grant Clark, speaking from Tripoli. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.