Amateur video of Col Gaddafi shortly before he was killed
Libya’s ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his birthplace of Sirte, officials say.
Acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril announced the death, saying it was the moment Libya was waiting for.
Mr Jibril gave few details of how Col Gaddafi died, but video footage emerged showing him captured alive. Other images apparently showed him being dragged through the streets.
Some fighters claim to have shot him, though it is not clear when he died.
US President Barack Obama said it was a “momentous day” for Libya, now that tyranny had fallen.
He said Libya had a “long and winding road towards full democracy”, but the US and other countries would stand behind Tripoli.
Col Gaddafi was toppled from power in August after 42 years in charge of the country.
He was fighting his last stand in Sirte alongside two of his sons, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam, according to reports.
Acting Justice Minister Mohammad al-Alagi told the AP news agency Saif al-Islam had been captured and taken to hospital with a leg wound; other officials said Mutassim had been killed in battle on Thursday.
Golden gunNato, which has been running a bombing campaign in Libya for months, said it had carried out an air strike earlier on Thursday.
French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said French jets had fired warning shots to halt a convoy carrying Col Gaddafi as it tried to flee Sirte.
He said Libyan fighters had then descended and taken the colonel.
At the scene
Residents swarmed the streets of the capital, waving flags and cheering from the windows of their cars.
Tripoli’s myriad of streets in various districts has been gridlocked for hours.
People and fighters manning checkpoints shouted out “God is Great”, as some distributed mints and biscuits – later dubbed “revolutionary treats” – to passing cars.
There are many who will be wondering “what next?” for Libya as it embarks on a new era unobtainable for almost half a century.
But for many Libyans tonight, it is a time to rejoice.
Proof of Col Gaddafi’s fate came in grainy pieces of video, first circulated among fighters, and then broadcast by international news channels.
The first images showed a bloodied figure presumed to be Col Gaddafi.
Later, video emerged of the colonel being bundled on to the back of a pick-up truck after being captured alive.
Some channels picked up footage they said showed the colonel’s body being dragged through the streets.
None of the video footage has been independently verified.
Some fighters loyal to the National Transitional Council (NTC) said the colonel was shot when he tried to escape.
One NTC fighter told the BBC that he found Col Gaddafi hiding in a hole in Sirte, and the former leader had begged him not to shoot.
The fighter showed reporters a golden pistol he said he had taken from Col Gaddafi.
Arabic TV channels showed images of troops surrounding two large drainage pipes where the reporters said Col Gaddafi was found.
Mr Jibril held a news conference in Tripoli to confirm the colonel’s death.
“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed,” he said.
Mr Jibril promised that NTC chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil would give more details of how Col Gaddafi was killed later.
He also said Mr Abdul Jalil would officially announce the “liberation of the country”, allowing the NTC to begin pushing through democratic reforms that will lead to elections.
“I think it’s for the Libyans to realise that it’s time to start a new Libya, a united Libya, one people, one future,” Mr Jibril said.
‘United Libya’Libyans gathered in towns and cities across the country to celebrate the reports of the colonel’s death.
The BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse has visited the drain where Col Gaddafi was reportedly found by NTC forces
Groups of young men fired guns in the air, and drivers honked horns in celebration.
His death came after weeks of fierce fighting for Sirte, one of the last remaining pockets of resistance.
World leaders urged the NTC to carry through its promise to reform the country.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who had taken a leading role in Nato’s intervention, said it was “a day to remember all of Col Gaddafi’s victims”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it a “historic” moment, but warned: “The road ahead for Libya and its people will be difficult and full of challenges.”