Libyan rebels drag Qaddafi's body through Misrata. More fighting ahead
DEBKAfile Special Report October 20, 2011, 4:44 PM (GMT+02:00)
Questions swirl around the death outside Sirte Thursday, Oct. 20, of Muammar Qaddafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years until his overthrow in August 2011:
One theory holds that after his convoy was attacked by NATO warplanes outside Sirte, he was seriously wounded in both legs, released that the game was up, crawled into a nearby pipe and shot himself dead to escape capture. This theory is borne out by the discovery by rebels of a gold-plated pistol near his body . But some TV footage indicates he was shot dead after being abused by rebels.
In the eyes of his loyalists, and there are still many left in Libya, he is admired for dying the death of a hero..
If the bullet or shell that injured or killed him is identified as belonging to a NATO weapon, he may be acclaimed by his own people and the Muslim world as a martyr like Osama bin Laden before him. This would be the pretext for the outbreak of bloody guerrilla warfare between the dead ruler's following and his opponents.
The third theory is that rebel forces found him dying from an attack on the convoy carrying him and his party and made sure of his death by shooting him in the head.
debkafile: Qaddafi's death may end NATO's military campaign in Libya, but it is far from ending the Libyan war. The barbaric treatment of his body in Misrata is a shocking omen of the bloody conflict to come.
debkafile reported earlier Thursday:
Western sources confirm the NTC report that Muammar Qaddafi was captured Thursday, Oct. 20 in or near Sirte. There were initially conflicting reports of his condition. He was said wounded in two legs, according to an NTC official. He now appears to have died of wounds sustained in a NATO air strike against his convoy outside Sirte, one of his last strongholds.
Rebel troops are celebrating the end of the 42-year Libyan ruler.
Earlier Thursday, the NTC claimed to have achieved complete control of the city after long months of siege against fierce resistance.
As long as Qaddafi was at liberty, the interim government was prevented from establishing its legitimacy and a stable administration.
For the rebel forces, Qaddafi's capture or death is a major psychological and political triumph. However, Libya remains bitterly polarized between pro- and anti-Qaddafi factions with scores of rival militias and hundreds of tribes at each other's throats. Qaddafi's demise rather than promoting unity and ending the conflict could trigger wider civil bloodshed