Washington early Thursday was in uber-data analysis mode, still trying to confirm initial reports that former Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi has beeen killed after being injured during a Libyan rebel attack near his hometown of Sirte.
Al Jazeera television showed what it said was Colonel Qaddafi's corpse as jubilant fighters celebrated in and near the area, The New York Times reported Thursday. In Tripoli, car horns blared as residents poured into the streets to celebrate.
A New Libya Is Born
A new Libya is born today, Mahmoud Shammam, chief spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) said, The Times reported. This is the day of real liberation. We were serious about giving him a fair trial. It seems God has some other wish.
A senior Obama administration official said the U.S. was working to confirm the reports.
We're working on it, the official said, Reuters reported Thursday.
The U.S. State Department on Thursday said it couldn't confirm that deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi has been captured and wounded in both legs.
We've seen the media reports but can't confirm them, State Department spokeswoman Beth Gosselin told Reuters.
National Transitional Council Official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters that Gadhafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy, which NATO airplanes attacked.
He was also hit in his head, he said, Reuters reported Thursday. There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.
NATO officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance to alliance rules, said the alliance also couldn't independently confirm whether Gadhafi was killed or captured, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
Libya's interim leaders had said they believed that some Gadhafi family members -- possibly including Colonel Gadhafi himself and several of his sons -- were hiding in Sirte or in Bani Walid, another loyalist bastion that the anti-Gadhafi forces captured several days ago, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Gadhafi Wanted for Numerous Human Rights Violations
Gadhafi has been wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of ordering the killing of civilians. He ruled the oil-producing north African state with an iron fist for more than 40 years before he was ousted by rebel forces on Aug. 23.
Pro-Gadhafi fighters put up a harsh fight in Sirte, which will be the last Libyan city to be won by the Council. The fierce resistance led some to believe that Gadhafi and his unaccounted for sons were hidden somewhere in the seaside town.
Gadhafi's youngest and second youngest sons are both thought to have been killed during the Libyan revolution.