Muammar Gaddafi was killed Thursday, succumbing to wounds sustained after fighters discovered the deposed autocrat hiding in a sewage pipe while trying to flee his final redoubt of Sirte.
According to reports, he was stopped by a French air strike and captured, possibly some hours later, after gun battles with rebel fighters who found him hiding in a drainage culvert.
NATO said its warplanes fired on a convoy near Sirte at about 8:30 a.m., striking two military vehicles in the group, but could not confirm that Gaddafi had been a passenger.
France later said its jets had been in action at the time.
The killing or capture of senior aides, including possibly two sons, may ease fears of diehards regrouping elsewhere – though the gruesome video of Gaddafi’s final moments may inflame his remaining sympathizers.
The brief footage shows a man looking like Gaddafi, with distinctive long, curly hair, being hauled by his hair from the hood of a truck. The man is bloodied and staggering under blows from armed men, apparently National Transitional Council fighters.
To the shouts of someone saying “Keep him alive,” he disappears from view and gunshots are heard along with chants of “Allahu akbar,” God is great.
“They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him,” said one senior source in the NTC.
A Libyan official said Gaddafi was killed in custody.