After 42 years, the Moammar Gadhafi era is now finally complete, with the former dictator either dead or captured, according to reports.
After months on the run, Gadhafi was found in the city of Sirte on Thursday, the National Transitional Council -- Libya's transitional government -- told reporters. While some said that the ousted leader was captured, Tripoli military council leader Abdul Hakim Belhaj and others said that Gadhafi died from wounds sustained during the harsh battle.
He's wounded in both legs... He's been taken away by ambulance, the NTC's Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters after Gadhafi was found hiding in a hole Thursday morning.
He was also hit in his head, the official said. There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.
They are going to (the city of) Misrata, a Libyan in Sirte told NBC News. I think he is dead. In the head, in the body lots of blood. So many people guys with him. When we touch that man ... believe me I am so happy,
Other reports also indicated that Gadhafi was severely wounded, but was still breathing. Gadhafi's spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim and head of the loyalist army Abu Bakr Younus Jabr were also reportedly captured in Sirte.
A gruesome cellphone image seems to depict a wounded and bloodied Gadhafi being dragged away after his capture. The authenticity of the image, published by AFP, hasn't been confirmed.
Officially, save a few individual commanders, the National Transitional Council hasn't confirmed Gadhafi's death. NATO, which has been aiding the NTC fighters, and the U.S. State Department also haven't been able to confirm the report.
Additionally, the few remaining loyalist networks denied the news of Gadhafi's capture all together.
The reports peddled by the lackeys of NATO about the capture or death of the brother leader, Moammar Gadhafi, are baseless, said al-Libiya television, who also noted that Gadhafi is in good health, according to Times Live.
The Libyan revolutionaries have spread incorrect information in the past. Gadhafi's youngest son Khamis has been reportedly killed three times. After the first two times, he appeared on state television. The last report came in August, and Khamis is now considered to be dead. Earlier, it was reported that Saif al-Islam had been captured, but he appeared in Tripoli the next day.
Saif al-Islam's whereabouts are currently unknown.
Gadhafi's capture in Sirte does prove one thing -- that Gadhafi made good on at least one of his promises. The former Libyan leader repeatedly vowed that he would never flee the country, saying he would rather die or be martyred than run from his homeland. Despite members of his family, cabinet and army escaping to other African countries, it appears that Gadhafi never left.
Below is a timeline, moving backward from the fall of Sirte to the rise of Gadhafi's regime.
- Libyans rejoice in cities across the country as the news of Gadhafi's capture is broadcast on state television and al-Jazeera.
This is a great day for Libya whether he is dead or alive, the former Libyan ambassador to the UN told CNN.
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Tripoli and continues her work with the transitional government. She also brings an aid package that will fund hospitals and a new education system.
- The NTC fighters, who are no longer called rebels, vie for the last cities still in loyalist control. Bani Walid falls on Oct. 17, Sirte on Oct. 20.
- Interpol issues a Red Notice for deposed Gadhafi, as well as for his son Saif Al-islam Gadhafi and former director of military intelligence Abdullah Al-Senussi. The Red Notice is the most serious of seven different notices, and is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today.
- High-ranking Gadhafi generals Mansour Dhao and air force commander Ali Sharif al-Rif, along with a number of other loyalist officials and Gadhafi's son Saadi, enter Niger, finding safe-harbor, at least temporarily. There's speculation that the convoy will move on to Burkina Faso.
- Gadhafi still missing. Despite habitual radio addresses insisting that he hasn't -- and will never -- leave Libya, some speculate that he may have escaped to Zimbabwe or Chad.
- Rebels storm Tripoli, and after a weekend of harsh fighting, take the capital. Gadhafi's last day in power is marked as Aug. 23.
- After their expulsion from Tripoli, three of Gadhafi's sons, his wife and his daughter escape to neighboring Algeria. Rebels call the family's refuge an act of aggression on the part of the Algerian government. Algeria closes the border immediately afterward.
- Rebel forces move through the country as former members of Gadhafi's government as well as some army units either join the anti-Gadhafi forces or defect.
- The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Gadhafi, Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi for ordering troops to shoot at unarmed protestors. If caught, the men could be extradited to The Hague for an international trial.
- NATO enters the Libyan revolution, offering only air-support to back the rebels on the ground. Airstrikes hit a number of important targets, and kill Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Arab.
- National Transitional Council is established.
- International Criminal Court launches war crimes investigations.
- On Feb. 15, demonstrations begin in Benghazi.
- Thousands of people protest the Gadhafi regime in the city, and are soon met by government forces. Protestors are reportedly shot on Gadhafi's orders, and hundreds of people are thought to have been killed.
- The protests spread to Tripoli and then to other Libyan cities, where more demonstrators are killed. Saif al-Islam appears on state television and blames the violence and protests on foreign agents. Later, Gadhafi reiterates the statement, saying the protestors are drug-fuel terrorists.
- Battle of Misrata begins and runs into May. Misrata is the third largest city in Libya, and the battle is the most symbolic besides the battle for Tripoli. Rebels are surrounded by loyalist forces and anywhere from 700 to 9,000 people are reportedly killed. With NATO's help, rebels break the pro-Gadhafi line and take control of the city and airbase.
- By the end of the month, protestors and rebels have control of Benghazi, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, Misrata and Tobruk.
- Gadhafi makes amends with many Western nations, and begins an era of unprecedented diplomacy outside the Arab/African world.
- In 2004, U.S. politicians visit Libya for the first time under Gadhafi's authority. Later that year President George W. Bush ends the Libyan trade embargo. In 2006, the U.S. restores its full diplomatic ties with the country, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair also visits Gadhafi.
- In 2008, Italy compensates Libya with $5 billion for its practices during its colonial rule in first half of the 20th century. Gadhafi and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi become famous friends in the years that follow, and Gadhafi goes on 11 state visits to Italy.
- In 2009, Gadhafi makes his first-ever address to the United Nations General Assembly, a 90-minute speech that was described as a rambling diatribe by The New York Times. In the harangue, he called the Security Council the terror council and labeled it political feudalism for those who have a permanent seat.
- Gadhafi survives a number of assassination attempts this decade, including an Army mutiny, an extremist attack that may have been supported by Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, and an attempted drive-by shooting.
- In December 1988, 270 people died when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. (Libya agreed to pay $2.7 billion in damages in 2003.)
Libyan citizens were also blamed for other bombings, including a 1980 attack on a dance club in West Berlin and the bombing of a French UTA airliner over Niger, which killed 170 people. U.S. bombs Libya in response.
- 1975 - The first edition of Gadhafi's three-part political philosophy text called The Green Book is published. Broken into sections titled The Solution of the Problem of Democracy, The Solution of the Economic Problem: Socialism and The Social Basis of the Third International Theory, the Green Book rejects the ideas of parliament, political parties and the democratic majority in exchange for direct democracy and popular committees.
- The Green Book becomes required reading for all Libyans.
- Gadhafi gives himself a number of titles, including Secretary General of the General People's Congress of Libya, Prime Minister of Libya and Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution of Libya. He disbands the Secretary General position in 1979, gives up the P.M. role, and keeps the Brotherly Leader position.
- Gadhafi and a group of military officers wrestle power from King Idris I in a bloodless coup, abolishing the Kingdom of Libya and the constitution and creating the Libyan Arab Republic. (Idris was out of the country at the time.)
The 27-year-old, who had been raised in a Bedouin tent in the desert outside of Sirte, is now the leader of Libya.