A U.S. Predator drone, along with a French fighter jet, fired on the convoy said to be carrying Moammar Gadhafi mere moments before his death, a U.S. defense official told Fox News Thursday.
The official said the drone and French jet fired on a large convoy leaving Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. Earlier, French defense officials said about 80 vehicles were in the convoy. And while the strike did not destroy the convoy, the fighters on the ground quickly deduced that is was the vehicle carrying Gadhafi. He was later killed, the official said.
Refusing to elaborate on the events surrounding Gadhafi's death, President Barack Obama and other officials said only that U.S. and NATO actions helped Libyans reach this point.
Today, we can definitively say that the Gadhafi regime has come to an end, Obama said Thursday, speaking in the Rose Garden. This is a momentous day in the history of Libya. You have won your revolution.
U.S: NATO Mission to End Soon
The President also said the NATO mission would soon be over; if so, the use of a Predator drone Thursday would mark a fitting end for U.S. involvement, Fox News wrote.
While the attack Thursday began as an aerial strike, Gadhafi died of wounds suffered during his capture when revolutionary fighters overran Sirte, Gadhafi's last stronghold, about 280 miles east of Tripoli, bringing an end to the eight-month war backed by NATO.
The circumstances surrounding Gadhafi's killing are still unclear. His death was reported by a spokesman for the National Transitional Council in Libya, who also said NTC fighters found Gadhafi hiding underground and he was shot and killed.
Gadhafi, 69, had ruled Libya for 42 years since coming into power in a military coup at the age of 27.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle hailed the news as a milestone, while still keeping a focused eye on the future of Libya, and talking of helping Libyans form a new democratic government in a post-Gadhafi nation.
In a written statement, House Speaker John Boehner called Gadhafi's death a turning point in the Libyan people's pursuit of freedom.
Other lawmakers, however, continued to criticize Obama for his handling of the mission.
He did the right things, he just took too long to do it, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told Fox News.
Reports from Sirte also have NTC fighters saying they captured one of Gadhafi's sons, Mutassim. Reports conflicted on whether he was alive or dead.