· Towards the conclusion of the NATO operation ·
The dramatic end of Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte marks a point in Libya’s bloody war while the international community hopes that a new government is formed that will begin a process of reconciliation between the diverse sensibilities of the National Transition Council. It will certainly not be easy to reconstruct the country after seven month of war – with thousands of victims, hundreds of thousands of refugees and terrible destruction – but Libyans must find the strength to begin again. Tomorrow, the leaders of the NTC are due to proclaim the liberation of the country. As an Al Jazeera video showed, and as the NTC confirmed, Gaddafi was captured alive, but the pictures of his cadaver with bullet hole at the temple suggested an execution. The rais is dead, the Prime Minister of the NTC announced, from a shot to the head during a shoot-out between his loyalists and the insurgent forces. Also killed were his son, Mutassim (whose body was transferred to Misrata and displayed there) and the Minister of Defense of the ex-regime, Abu Bakr Younis Jabr. The head of the secret service, Abdallah Senoussi is said to have been arrested together with Gaddafi’s spokesman, Moussa Ibraim. The colonel was attempting to flee the city of Sirte which had just been captured by the NTC forces, heading south in a convoy of seven vehicles made up of his family and loyalists, when it was intercepted by NATO airplanes and by the combatants of the NTC on the ground. The alliance of French aircraft, according to Paris, as well as American ones, according to Washington, attacked several vehicles killing the head of the armed forces. To avoid the firefight, a Toyota suddenly left the convoy, followed by another car. At this point, according to the reconstruction of the Libyan ambassador to Rome, Abdel Hafed Gaddur, the combatants entered into action and blocked the vehicles. From there, things become a bit less clear: the NTC forces were filmed next to a concrete tunnel above which was written, “Gaddafi was here.” The body of the rais was brought to Misrata and shown on television before being placed in a mosque. Yesterday, the government of the NTC said it will be buried in a secret location.
The head of the regime capitulated in just a few minutes. Marking, probably, the end of the war, to the point that NATO is considering announcing the end of the mission.
St. Peter’s Square
March 21, 2019
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