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Reports Say Moammar Gadhafi Is Dead

Aired October 20, 2011 - 09:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Ladies, thanks so much. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our special coverage. I'm Kyra Phillips.


This morning of course, as you've been following, breaking news out of Libya with those unconfirmed reports that the deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi is dead.

PHILLIPS: As you can hear, Tripoli erupted in celebration with what appears to be a pretty brutal or an end, rather, to a brutal era. Forty-two years of terror seemingly ended just hours ago and now you're about to see a photo that's said to be Gadhafi badly wounded and in custody. And we warn you it's pretty gruesome.

GORANI: All right, well, he has either badly wounded in this cell phone video or dead. It's a cell phone image obtained somehow by our colleagues at the French press Agency, Agence France-Presse. We'll point out that CNN can't independently confirm its authenticity.

Now rebel leaders were excited, but a little coy when the news broke. This is what the information minister for Libya's National Transitional Council said.


MAHMOUD SHAMMAM, NTC INFORMATIONAL MINISTER: As a big day, it's a holiday for the Libyan people. (INAUDIBLE) of self, downtown of Colonel Gadhafi. I think it's a great victory for Libyan people, great victory for revolution, and we know now from our sources in Misrata that we have a big fish. I don't know how the fish is -- how big the fish --

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You don't know who has been captured. Just a senior figure.

SHAMMAM: Yes. Misrata radio confirmed that big figure as Moammar Gadhafi himself. We're waiting for a statement from Benghazi -- Mustafa Abdul Jalil in Benghazi. And to think is the one and then to see people who can confirm or deny that we caught a big fish himself.


PHILLIPS: And you just saw our Dan Rivers right there in Tripoli. He is working his sources right now trying to get more information for us. He's going to join us live in just a minute.

So, let's get to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. She's there at her post.

Barbara, what do we know about the U.S. role in all of this at this point?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, nothing has been confirmed by the Obama administration, but what we do know now, there is emerging information, NATO has confirmed that earlier today about 8:30 local time on the ground in Libya, NATO warplanes struck a military convoy moving around in the vicinity of Sirte where the heavy fighting was taking place, where it is believed Gadhafi may have been hiding out.

NATO warplanes struck this convoy. They did not believe -- they had no reason to believe we were told by NATO that Gadhafi was in it at the time, but given the subsequent events that have unfolded they are now looking at the prospect that Gadhafi may have been in that convoy that was hit. Not confirming it yet.

There are also these reports he was in a hole somewhere. There's all kind of reports out there. But certainly looking at that convoy as a possibility. At the same time, NATO confirming that as the so- called rebel forces now the emerging government of Libya has increasingly taken over control in the country, in the next few days NATO expects to make a recommendation to its member countries, including the United States, of course, that the military operations led by NATO basically are coming to an end.

That NATO will be able to meet in the next few days and take a vote on ending those military operations. That's something that was really under way, even separate from the issue of Gadhafi's fate.

But what they are telling us now is they can't confirm it because they want to still see some very specific evidence. They want to have some independent confirmation. It's not that they don't believe the Libyans, it's that they really feel -- NATO feels it needs to see the independent confirmation and what does that mean? It means, perhaps, NATO forces in the region, maybe there are, we are told, some French troops nearby or other NATO forces nearby.

Officials that can go and view this situation whether it is someone captured or a dead body. They want to put eyeballs on this. And perhaps even go that extra mile, have a DNA test so they can confirm to the world that it is Moammar Gadhafi one way or the other and put it all to rest -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, our Barbara Starr there at the Pentagon. Barbara, thanks. We'll be talking a lot more throughout the morning.

GORANI: And we are expecting from the National Transitional Council, these revolutionaries that overthrew Moammar Gadhafi, a news conference hopefully in the next hour or so with more on the reported death of Moammar Gadhafi.

The question is, will they provide proof? Dan Rivers is our senior international correspondent. He is in Tripoli.

What can you tell us? What is the latest on the reports that Gadhafi is dead today?

RIVERS: Well, Mahmoud Shammam who's the minister for information was just talking to us He seems clear and certain that Colonel Gadhafi is dead, but he's waiting for Chairman Jalil. The chairman of the NTC to make that formal announcement at some sort of press conference in the next hour or so, he said.

But it seems -- well, he seemed confident that it's true off camera, as well. And there is this photo circulating now of a figure covered in blood. Now it's not clear if that is Colonel Gadhafi, but it's certainly been touted as such by some news channels here and certainly Libyan state TV has been reporting that he -- Colonel Gadhafi has been killed for some time now.

Of course we got to be cautious in all these things. They have come out with statements before the NTC that have proven to be wrong in the past. But you can probably hear the cacophony of car horns and gunfire behind me in celebration. People here want it to be true. And we should get final confirmation that it is true in the next hour, we're told, here in Tripoli.

GORANI: And Dan, we're hearing there what I presume as celebratory gunfire behind you in Tripoli. We did see that cell phone video or the still captured from that cell phone video that shows a man, a bloodied man that looks a lot like Colonel Gadhafi.

I imagine this is something that Libyans are able to see, as well, with the Internet and we're seeing it -- by the way we're showing our viewers right now, it is quite gruesome.

If he is, indeed dead, what next now for the revolutionaries for this transitional council? What happens?

RIVERS: Well, in some senses this is the best possible outcome for the NTC because now they can move ahead with proclaiming an interim government. They can then try to set some kind of timetable for elections and have a proper elected democratic government here, which will be such a huge change in the way this country is governed.

Don't forget, Colonel Gadhafi ruled this place for 42 years since he came to power on the 1st of September, 1969 in the military coup. And they have no real practice or state of how to hold elections or how to have a democratically elected government.

This will all be completely new to people here. It'll be something they'll have to get used to. There will be, no doubt, hiccups and problems along the way. But I think the vast majority of people here are just overwhelmed with the historic moment that has happened here, if it is to be believed that Colonel Gadhafi has been killed, that Sirte has fallen, and that this war is over.

GORANI: Dan Rivers, possibly another dictator gone. Reportedly this dictator killed today in or around Sirte. His own hometown. Forty-two years of the rule of Colonel Gadhafi coming to a real end, they say, Kyra, because he's been deposed now for several weeks. But if he's dead, this really -- this is the true beginning of the new Libya.

PHILLIPS: Yes, it definitely is. It opens up, obviously, the National Transitional Council, it opens them up to bringing in a diverse group of individuals, different voices. The question is, will that make it.

Ben Wedeman, any easier or more difficult for this country. I mean, we're talking about Gadhafi ruling Libya for 42 years. He had a huge impact on that region and you know we've been looking at this picture and possibly this sewer that he was hiding in. Reports also that maybe he was in a hole, sort of like Saddam Hussein when he was found in a spider hole.

It doesn't really seem like Gadhafi's MO, Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, it certainly doesn't because we understood that when he left Tripoli in August that he left with a large entourage, with lots of cash, lots of dollars and euro, and a lot of weapons. And for him to end up basically in the same sort of spider hold that Saddam Hussein did, seems a bit odd, a bit out of character.

And when I was there, we were hearing all sorts of reports that he was in Bani Walid. That was the explanation for the level of resistance there. That he was in an oasis in the southern part of the country and that he could be in Sirte. So it's a bit of a surprise the way he -- in theory -- met his end.

He was not somebody that people expected to really go this early. Let's not forget that Baghdad, for instance, in the case of Iraq, it fell in late April. Saddam Hussein was not caught until December of 2003. It was expected that Gadhafi would be able to hold out a bit longer than this.

PHILLIPS: All right. So, Ben, the fact that he -- I guess here's my question. If indeed he's dead, how much was he able to do while in hiding with regard to his money, the weapons, building up stronger forces among those that were still Iraq, it fell in late April. Saddam Hussein was not caught until December of 2003. It was expected that Gadhafi could hold out a bit longer than this.

So, ben, the fact that, I guess here's my question. If, indeed, he's dead, how much was he able to do while in hide with regard to his money, the weapons, building up stronger forces among those that were still loyal to him? Is it -- I mean now -- if indeed he is dead, what does that mean with regard to the violence from here on out and the existence of loyalists and how much power they will have?

WEDEMAN: Well, I think perhaps his role as a leader of the anti- sea insurgency may have been somewhat overstated. I was in parts of Libya where I spoke to lots of people who were opposed to the new rulers of Libya, but not necessarily great supporters of Moammar Gadhafi. There is a worry that this new regime in Libya will be very slow, if succeeded at all in moving to democracy. There's a worry that there's going to be a lot of revenge, a lot of, basically, lawlessness.

And so some of the times when we were told that these were Gadhafi loyalists fighting for the leader, it was wrong. They were actually people defending their homes, afraid that their homes would be looted and we have seen instances where looting has been a serious problem. So, Gadhafi, yes, he was a rallying point for a certain element of the opponents of the new regime in Libya. But he wasn't necessarily leading all of them.

PHILLIPS: You've been there since the very beginning of all of this, about eight months ago.

Ben Wedeman, we'll be talking more throughout the morning as well -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Well, let's get to Jim Clancy.

Jim, of course, you covered Baghdad, you covered the fall of Baghdad, and also the death of Saddam Hussein. You know I'm curious a country and so many of these Arab countries have been led by brutal dictators, by autocrats. Once they're gone, once they're physically gone, which is different from being deposed. What happens to the country?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, you know, I think that -- whether we have it confirmed that he's killed or captured, Moammar Gadhafi has reached a dead end today, and that's significant, most of all, for the National Transitional Council. There are reports published this morning that I read that indicated he was planning a hit and run guerilla-style war to try to destabilize their government.

He could continue to cause them trouble. This changes all of that. It makes a transition in Libya a much easier task for them to have him in custody or, if it is confirmed, to have him completely out of the way and dead.

But there's a lot of people really breathing a sigh of relief that this went far beyond the borders of Libya -- Hala.

GORANI: Yes, with -- as far as Saddam Hussein was concerned, there was a capture, there was imprisonment of the dictator, in this case, this country isn't going to go through any of that. So that makes it quite different.

CLANCY: Well, it remains to be seen. If he is captured, he could potentially still face a trial. I think we'll know within the next few hours whether that's even a possibility. You know there was war crimes charges against him. He was wanted by the International Criminal Court. That would have turned into a circus and it's doubtful in my mind that we'd ever be turned over by the Libyans to an international court of justice.

We'll just have to wait and see, Hala, how things pan out, how they deliver --

GORANI: Right.

CLANCY: -- Moammar Gadhafi's fate.

GORANI: Well, this could have explained, Jim, why there was so much fierce resistance and at least one pocket of Sirte, his hometown. The other question is, Moammar Gadhafi reportedly killed, but Saif Islam Gadhafi, his other son, Mutassim, where are they? I mean, that's still -- they're still hanging in the air in Libya.

CLANCY: Well, we know some of the family members that fled the country. It is notable, I think, that Moammar Gadhafi said he was going to stand his ground and, indeed, that's exactly what he did. I don't think that he was likely hiding in one of those holes. Some of them have been depicted as sewer pipes or drainage pipes. That would be a typical place someone would hide from an air assault.

And we heard there from Barbara Starr just a few moments ago that the U.S. or NATO did conduct some air strikes in the area of Sirte today on a couple of vehicles that were active there and suspected of being military threat to civilians.

So it's significant. Moammar Gadhafi stood his ground, you know, as he said he would. His other family members have fled. They do not have the credibility and the following of Moammar Gadhafi to try to launch that same guerilla, hit and run war against the National Transitional Council. I think that the new leadership in Libya right now is breathing a huge sigh of relief -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, Jim Clancy on this day, reports that Moammar Gadhafi, one of the most enduring dictators in the world and certainly in the Arab world, reportedly killed. The question is, what are other leaders in the region thinking right now. What's going through their mind? That certainly is something that we're going to be exploring as well -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: For the past three months we've been talking a lot to Abubaker Saad. He used to work for Moammar Gadhafi. He was actually one of his right-hand man, an aide, to the colonel. He's now a professor in Connecticut.

Professor Saad, thank you for joining me, again. I guess, right off the bat, I want to ask you -- did you think it would end this way? If, indeed, this is true, did you think this is how it was going to go down?

ABUBAKER SAAD, FORMER GADHAFI AIDE: That was one of the predictions that we have made very early or way back in February, that the only way for the Libyan revolution and the fledging democracy that would rise in Libya, hopefully, in the future, is the disappearance of Gadhafi, whether he is captured or he is dead.

So far, the picture I saw online, it really resembles him very, very much. I cannot really confirm it exactly, but I could say easily 90 percent of my mind that it is him.

PHILLIPS: Did you want to see him dead or alive?

SAAD: It didn't really make a difference to me and most of the other Libyans whether he's dead or alive, as long as he's captured, because as long as he was on the run, he represented a very ominous danger to the Libyan people and he represented a very ominous region, you know, danger, to the idea of the democracy in Libya because, as long as he's alive, he can still rally some tribal groups. He can still hire mercenaries from the African countries that have been indebted to him for decades.

So, the fact that he is captured -- and for me, it doesn't make a difference whether he is dead or alive, as long as we have him physically in capture.

GORANI: Abubaker, this is Hala Gorani. Remind us, how many years were you -- did you work for Moammar Gadhafi?

SAAD: I worked for him for a total of nine years.

GORANI: You know this man extremely well.

SAAD: Exactly.

GORANI: Yes. When you hear reports that he was found possibly in a hole or other reports that she was shot in the head or reports that he was shot or injured while trying to flee in a vehicle, does that surprise you at all after all these bombastic radio addresses he gave that he was going to lead fighters to retake the Libya that he thought was rightfully his?

SAAD: You know, well, these actions that you just described whether he was hiding in a bunker or was hiding in a sewer or running away in a car, these are the images that he never showed to his supporters. He never showed such a thing to his loyal followers. He -- all along, he was telling them that he is in a safe place and that he is going to bring them back to power, again. For the past few months, that's basically the message that he was sending.

But, of course, in reality, he was hiding and he was running for his life. So, I'm not really surprised that he's done that because when I was working for him and let me give just you one very quick example here. When I was working for him, he never slept in the same place two nights in a row. He never went to sleep at the -- went to sleep at the same hour two nights in a row.

So, this man has been doing it for 42 years. He has experience in hiding. So, I'm thrilled to see the Libyan fighters in Sirte actually managed to kill him or capture him. Either way is fine.

GORANI: Abubaker Saad, who worked as an aide to Moammar Gadhafi for nine years, joining us live there from Connecticut. Thanks very much. Great insight.

PHILLIPS: Let's go to CNN Mohammed Jamjoom. He's been monitoring Arab news agency on the reports that have been coming out of Libya. He joins us now live from our bureau there in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Mohammed, tell us what you're seeing, what you're hearing, and what you're perspective is from there.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, this news is absolutely dominating the airwaves of all the Arab news networks here in the region.

If you look at the screen right here, this is the al Arabiya station. They're reporting that son of Moammar Gadhafi, Mutassim Gadhafi, was arrested, that he was captured in Sirte and that he is being transported to Misrata right now. They've also r reported that the body of Moammar Gadhafi is being transported to Misrata and when it gets there, it will be made available to press on the scene.

If you look there, this is al Jazeera. Al Jazeera also has been dominating the coverage here. You're seeing the same scenes that you've been seeing in Al Arabiya. These are live pictures from Sirte. Celebration pictures. Rebel forces very happy at the news that's been spreading around Libya right now. Al Jazeera is also reporting that Moammar Gadhafi is dead and reporting that Mutassim Gadhafi, the son of Moammar Gadhafi, has been captured.

Right now, again, this is completely wallpapering the airwaves. This is breaking news here in the region, dominating all the coverage of all the major Arab news networks at this hour -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Mohammed Jamjoom, as you know, our coverage here is pretty fluid. Moving from one thing to another.

Mohammed, we'll come back to you. We were just talking about how we want to talk more to the professor. He spent nine years with Moammar Gadhafi and can probably give us the best insight to what's going to happen within the country and the people as we move forward.

GORANI: Right. And, Kyra, he's familiar with Moammar. He's familiar with Saif al-Islam. He knows the inner workings of the family. He mentioned there that Moammar Gadhafi, while he was working for him, didn't spend two nights in the same bed. I mean, that's just fascinating insight.

Now, what about the United States, though, and the White House?

Athena Jones is there in Washington, D.C.

Now, are government officials saying -- what are they saying about these reports that Gadhafi is dead today?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, we have not gotten a comment from the White House. Officials here have not confirmed whether Gadhafi has been captured or killed. And this is something that, of course, they're going to be very, very cautious about, because they don't want to be wrong.

So, so far, we haven't heard a word from them yet. But as soon as we do, we'll come out and report it. Of course, this was big news all around.

If this is true -- you know that President Obama came under some criticism back in March, at the beginning of this operation, to prevent a humanitarian crisis. He talked about leading from behind. He talked about how the U.S., as you know, at the beginning, provided the bulk of the fire power from these warships in the Mediterranean all to keep, to try prevent a massacre there in Libya. And so, he also had to do some explaining about why this was in the U.S. interest.

So, if, in fact, Moammar Gadhafi has been killed or captured, this is going to be a big moment. And so, we'll be keeping on the White House and looking for comment from them as we go throughout the day.

GORANI: Privately, what do White House officials say about whether or not they think the best outcome was a Gadhafi capture or a Gadhafi death?

JONES: Well, this is not the kind of thing you hear people pine about a lot even in private. They said back in August, you'll remember, when there are big advances made by the rebels, the president was in Martha's Vineyard. He came out and he said it's clear that the Gadhafi regime is over. It's coming to an end. There's still a long way to go.

You can imagine the focus here is going to be more on what's next for this Transitional National Council in terms of dealing with Libya and getting it in -- making the next step, the transition to a democratic society. And so, that's more likely to be the focus than the issue of his -- whether he was captured or killed.

But in terms of that background inside information, I'm not privy to anyone coming out and saying that we want to see him dead or we want to see him arrested and put on trial. So, we'll wait and see what we hear.

GORANI: All right. It's going to be interesting to hear reaction from the White House and the highest levels of government in the United States to this news once it is confirmed -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Let's bring back Professor Saad who's joining us via Skype. We told you about him working for Moammar Gadhafi as his aide for nine years. He's a professor in Connecticut. We've been talking to him since February when things were intensifying there in Libya.

Professor, as we look at these pictures out of Libya and we see Libyans celebrating, we talk about the mix feelings, whether they would rather see Moammar Gadhafi dead or alive, you were mentioning that it -- well, actually, let me ask you this. The majority of Libyans -- would they have rather seen Moammar Gadhafi tried for his crimes against humanity or do you think at this point if, indeed, he's dead, they're glad he's gone and they just want to move forward with a new way of life?

SAAD: Precisely. You know, if he is dead, most Libyans would actually feel a sigh of relief because you have to remember, you know, these people, the Libyan people have lived under Moammar Gadhafi for 42 years. Just imagine how much ominous that is on the lives.

So, the fact that he is dead, that definitely would be a relief for them than if he was on trial. But, of course, if he was to be put on trial, I can assure you, every Libyan wanted to try him in Libya. If he was still alive, they will try him in Libya, although the ICC had already issued a warrant for him. But if he was still alive, the Libyans are not going to surrender him to the ICC. They want to try him for the 42 years of atrocities they committed against them.

PHILLIPS: So, let me ask you this with regard to his loyalists and I'm going to ask you a personal question, too, because you were his aide for nine years. But let's start with his loyalists and those who were fighting for him and trying to protect him. Were those truly individuals that believed in him, supported him and wanted to protect him? Or were the majority of these so-called loyalists individuals that were just scared in any way, shape or form go against him and felt that this was their only, only chance -- I guess, only chance for a future to make money, to be able to survive, if they were loyalists to him?

SAAD: Well, if you want to look at this issue, you have to look at it from two points. At the very early stages of the revolution, yes, many of these loyalists were just being with him because they were afraid of reprisals. But once he began to actually flee or go into hiding, which actually he started that way back after his son was killed in May. Since that time, his loyalists are only the ones who believe that his rule is the best thing for them, for themselves.

Whether these groups who were actually tribes because he had the loyalty of a certain number of tribes like the Warfalla in Ben Walid who actually held on until this past week. So, those who are actually either related to him, like the Gaddafa tribe, his own tribal group, or the Warfalla tribe who were loyal to him because he had given them a lot of perks and he had favored them for over the rest of the Libyan people.

So, if you want to really look at his loyalists, you have to divide them into two groups. Groups of those what we would call, you know, beneficiaries from the system and they were afraid to go against the system at the very beginning. But those who were benefiting from the system and afraid to go against him, once he started to be on the run, they didn't care one way or another. They just want to survive.

But there are hard-line loyalties who are the ones who are fighting for them. They are the ones who were actually fighting in Sirte and Ben Walid, and they were fighting ferociously.

PHILLIPS: Looking to the future, though, those hard-line loyalists. I mean, it's not enough to actually have the basis of an insurgent leadership, correct?

SAAD: No, no. They don't. Actually, as I expressed it earlier, his death is really a sigh of relief for everyone because those loyalists that we are looking at now and in the past couple of months really were loyal to him personally. So, once he's dead, that particular loyalty is going to decimate because his sons, whether it is Saif al-Islam or Mutassim, or any of his sons, even the ones who are on the run in Niger and the one in Algeria, and all of those, none of them can muster the loyalty of these tribal groups and these loyalties that their father had had. So, he is really the head of the whole thing.

PHILLIPS: Professor Saad, please stay with us. We're getting tremendous insight from you as a former aide to Gadhafi for nine years. And, you know, rebel leaders were pretty excited, but a little coy when the news broke this morning.

This is what the Libya minister for Libya's National Transitional Council had said.


MAHMOUD SHAMMAM, NTC INFORMATION MINISTER: According to our people, they are attacking the house where he was and he tried to flee and they killed him. But when they met him, he was alive and he was killed in action.

RIVERS: He was shot by NTC soldiers?

SHAMMAM: Yes, this is what we got from our people in Misrata and Sirte.


GORANI: Guma El-Gamaty is on the phone. She's a Libyan political activist, the former coordinator for the National Transitional Council. She joins -- you're in London, Guma, right now?

GUMA EL-GAMATY, LIBYAN POLITICAL ACTIVIST (on the phone): I am, except that you got the gender wrong. It's a he, not a she.

GORANI: It's a he. Hello, sir. Your reaction today?

EL-GAMATY: I don't feel like having a sex transfer right now.

GORANI: OK. Well, while we digest that, tell us what your reaction is to the news today that Gadhafi is reportedly killed.

EL-GAMATY: Yes, I can confirm with confidence that the reports we've been following all day today that Gadhafi is now killed. He's dead.

The events started very early in the morning about 10:00 a.m. local time in Libya, 8:00 GMP. The freedom fighters were surrounding the last few buildings in Sirte where the last bastions where Gadhafi and his aides were holding out and hiding.

They stormed the buildings. They tried to apprehend Gadhafi alive. They attempted to arrest him alive, but he resisted arrest.

There was shooting and then, obviously, Gadhafi was injured badly. When they got hold of him, he was still alive. And he said a few words, he asked the people who were arresting him, who are you? What's going on?

And then they put him in an ambulance and they tried to send him to Misrata. But on the way, en route, it seems that he died of very, very severe bad wound, including to the head and then now he's -- his body is in Misrata. We have seen footage of his body on satellite television. It was a genuine accurate photo of his body as dead.

So, this culminates the whole episode of the last eight months. This is the finale. This is the end of the Libyan revolution. The Libyan people and the Libyan freedom fighters have actually brought down and toppled the Gadhafi regime.

And the freedom fighters in Sirte this morning have cornered Gadhafi, attempted to arrest him alive. But he resisted. He's now dead and --

GORANI: Mr. El-Gamaty, there's a lot of information here. I want to sort of kind of go through the points that you've discussed with us here live on CNN and CNN International.

Now, you've spoken to your contacts in Libya, presumably, for this information. You're saying Moammar Gadhafi was surrounded in the last few building that were still under loyalist control in Sirte. That he was injured in the initial attempts to capture him.

That he was still alive when he was captured. And that one of the last words that he said were, who are you? What is going on? But that he died en route including severe wounds, including wounds to the head.

So, just recapping what you told us.

EL-GAMATY: That is the information I have first hand, first hand from Libya. Yes.

GORANI: So, you've spoken to NTC sources in Libya who has given you this information?

EL-GAMATY: Sources to -- of the freedom fighters and their leaders on the ground, yes. So, this is -- this is the accurate picture we have. We have confirmation from the head of the military council in Tripoli and also from freedom fighters, leaders in Misrata, that this is the case and that Gadhafi's dead.

GORANI: So, just so I'm clear about where he was, where was he when he was captured? Was he in a building? Was he in a vehicle? Was he in manhole, as has been reported in the last few hours?

EL-GAMATY: I cannot say exactly whether he was not in a vehicle. Whether it was a building or a manhole, I don't know about that. I haven't heard anything about the manhole.

I think he was inside the building. As I said, the buildings were surrounded. They were stormed by the freedom fighters and then there was exchange of fire and, obviously, they attempted to arrest him alive, but he has been severely injured.

They attempted to -- they put him in an ambulance and attempted to take him to Misrata, and I think they have attempted first aid, as well. It was very vital to keep him alive, but I think the injuries were too severe and he could not survive them and he is now dead.

This is the end of the tyrant, the violent tyrant dictator Gadhafi. Today, the 20th of October, 2011, is the end of Gadhafi.

GORANI: Did he resist? I mean, there was an exchange of fire, so, presumably, fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi exchanged fires with the revolutionaries, correct? And was he armed?

EL-GAMATY: Yes. I think -- well, look, all of these minor details will come out later on in press briefings by the freedom fighters and their leader. All I can confirm to you from my information, I am here in London, the information I'm getting regularly and steadily from Libya is that that is the sequence of events I just highlighted to you.

GORANI: All right. Guma El-Gamaty is a Libyan political activist. He is a former member of the National Transitional Council, the coordinator in London for the NTC.

And, Kyra, just fascinating information there if it is, indeed, confirmed that Moammar Gadhafi was in a building, one of the last holdouts of the loyalists in Sirte, his own hometown. But that there was an exchange of fire, he was injured and but not killed right away. But while he was being transported in an ambulance, then at that point lost his life.

Of course, he was severely injured, including an injury to the head, according to Guma El-Gamaty.

PHILLIPS: And we want to point out to our viewers, if you're just waking up at half past the hour this morning, we are making clear or the one thing we can make clear is that reports are saying that Moammar Gadhafi is dead. These are reports coming from the Libyan side.

We have still not received confirmation from the White House, from our U.S. military, from our State Department. These are reports that are coming directly from Libya as you heard Hala Gorani talking to a political activist there.

We've had a chance to go live to the country and hear from reporters there and hear from leaders within the transitional council talking about the death of Moammar Gadhafi. We've been seeing these live pictures of celebrations. Libyans chanting, how happy they are with the death of Moammar Gadhafi.

But, once again, the U.S. is not confirming that, indeed, the colonel has been killed or captured.

If he is dead or alive, what does that mean next? Will he be tried in Libya and will he be tried in the Hague? We're going to talk about the legal ramifications of that right after the break.


PHILLIPS: Hey, good morning, everyone. Welcome back to our special coverage of breaking news in Libya. I'm Kyra Phillips.

GORANI: And I'm Hala Gorani.

We're still waiting for confirmation that Moammar Gadhafi is dead. Al Arabiya television is reporting that his corpse has been brought to the city of Misrata.

And, Kyra, those sources we've spoken to close to the NTC are also saying Moammar Gadhafi is dead today.

PHILLIPS: All right. Well, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying just a short time ago that she can't confirm any of the reports that rebel forces captured or killed him. Another report claims that Gadhafi's son Mutassim was captured alive in Tripoli, though, people are celebrating. Take a listen.

We're talking about 42 years of terror seemingly ended just hours ago and you're about to see a photo that's said to be Gadhafi badly wounded in custody. We warn you it's pretty gruesome.

And, Hala, also from what I understand, this is not just a photo, apparently. This is part of a video, a cell phone video that was frozen. There could be more. I'm being told that reporters are trying to get access to this video.

GORANI: Right. This would be a screen grab of a cell phone video. It certainly looks like Moammar Gadhafi. Those who know him, including Abubaker Saad, his aide who worked with him for nine years said he's 90 percent sure this is Moammar Gadhafi, though we always have to be careful in situations such as these.

We're waiting for confirmation and the National Transitional Council, the rebels, Kyra, are going to hold a news conference in the coming hours and there we believe more proof will be brought forward to confirm the death of Moammar Gadhafi.

PHILLIPS: Let's go ahead and bring in Spider Marks now. He's a retired commanding general of the Army Intelligence Center.

Spider, because I'm not quite sure what you know, sources that you've been able to talk to. Are you in any way, shape or form able to confirm the death of Moammar Gadhafi or what are your military sources telling you right now at this point?

JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, Kyra, it's like the taxidermist, either way you're going to get the animal back. Gadhafi is in custody, one way or another. He's in custody, severely wounded, having been wounded in the engagement in Sirte, either as a result of direct fire from the opposition forces or from NATO support, which might have been present, which certainly was present or he's dead.

And either way, the key thing is to understand that going forward how the new government in Libya declares itself and handles what will be the inevitable challenges between the loyalists that they will capture and the citizens and the new government of Libya moving forward -- absolutely critical right now to see how that transitions.

PHILLIPS: Well, Spider, you know, you're the retired general. So, I want to talk -- I want to talk military action here. We're getting a lot of various reports on how this went down.

What can we confirm? Was this a NATO operation working with revolutionary forces? Was this mainly revolutionary forces calling in for a little support from NATO? Who contributed intelligence-wise? Could it go to the CIA, to NATO, to other branches of the military? What can you tell us more than likely about the operation that finally led to this point?

MARKS: Kyra, everything and every scenario that you just described is possible and probably occurred. I can tell you that NATO provided intelligence support. The CIA in some way was involved. In a number of different activities, I'm convinced.

The rebels on the ground, the opposition on the ground really controlled the ground and had the best sense of where the loyalists were. So, they were controlling the tactical fight on the ground. NATO, all along, has provided close air support and strike missions against known targets where Gadhafi was.

So, whether this was completely coordinated or a real fused event, I can't tell you. Most likely it was not, but NATO was striking against some known targets. They achieved separation from the rebel forces so as not to endanger them and cause fratricide and after that strike was over, I'm sure NATO said you're cleared to move in and the ground forces came in and engaged who was left.

So, I think everything you described is absolutely correct.

PHILLIPS: So, Spider, when you look at a Saddam Hussein and a Moammar Gadhafi, these men with so much power for so long, so many loyalists, so much money, so many weapons, if indeed Moammar Gadhafi also was found captured, killed in this manhole, in this sewer that we've been seeing a picture of, how is it that men like this with so much power, so much money and so many assets end up going out like this?

MARKS: We should be surprised. Our history reveals a lot of folks that are just like this. These tyrannical, messianic kind of leaders that are so incredibly caught up with themselves and nobody's willing to tell them that the king is naked, that you've achieved some incredible, injustice has defined you and nobody is prepared to do that until you see what just occurred in Libya and has occurred else where in the Mideast.

The thing that's important to realize is what is the measured response moving forward? Is it cathartic? Is there some type of blood loss going on? Will there be revenge killings? We need to see and we need to make sure that doesn't happen or you'll have more chaos on the streets in Libya.

PHILLIPS: General Spider Marks, thanks for your time this morning.

MARKS: Thanks, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Big day military-wise and also politically. We'll be talking about those ramifications, including the legal ramifications, as well.

GORANI: And General Spider Marks there was talking about revenge killings, possible ethnic or tribal score settling. But, if we take into account what's happened so far, Kyra, in the aftermath of the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, we haven't seen as much as some had predicted of this type of killing.

So, possibly this is a new chapter for Libya. Maybe this is the end of one chapter for Libya and truly the beginning of another, politically, but also for the country as a whole in terms of its identity.

There are celebrations right now in Green Square. This is where Moammar Gadhafi gave his speeches for decades and decades after he created Green Square. And we are going to talk about the implications of this reported death on the International Criminal Court indictments. What does it mean for that -- after this.


GORANI: Welcome back, everyone. If you're just joining us breaking news: reports that Moammar Gadhafi, the long-term leader, the long- term dictator of Libya is dead today.

PHILLIPS: Forty-two years ruling that country and we are now getting reports and pictures, actually, a picture taken from what we are being told was cell phone video that was taken when Moammar Gadhafi was either shot or killed.

We're getting all kinds of reports in from Libya that he was shot in the head that he was shot in the legs, that he died en route to a hospital, that he died on the scene. We are trying to weave through all the reports that we have been getting talking to our sources in Libya but I want to make it clear that the White House has not confirmed the death or capture of Moammar Gadhafi neither has the State Department.

We are still waiting to hear from the U.S., but if you were to go overseas, which we have done since early this morning and gotten this -- where we got this initial information. Reports from Libyan state televisions to loyalists there saying, Moammar Gadhafi either captured or killed.

GORANI: Well, senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is there in Tripoli, the Libyan capital with the very latest on what we know -- Dan. DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Hala. Yes, I just spoke to another official, this time with the Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril. He confirmed, again, that Colonel Moammar Gadhafi is indeed dead. We're expecting a press conference with the NTC's Prime Minister and the Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam who's been speaking on CNN earlier today.

Both men will give more details, we're told, about the circumstances surrounding Colonel Gadhafi's killing. NATO has already confirmed that there was an air strike in the Sirte area at 8:30 local time this morning. They said there were armed vehicles maneuvering in the vicinity of Sirte and gun vehicles were conducting military operations and presented a clear threat to civilians and so they struck.

That I think is unusual because we haven't seen much activity by NATO in terms of air strikes in Sirte in the last week or so. Certainly while we were there we didn't hear or learn of any air strikes.

And there are reports coming in from other sources that we haven't confirmed ourselves saying that there was some sort of NATO air strike. Gadhafi's column was on the western outskirts of Sirte they took shelter in a drain under a road. And it was at that point that Colonel Gadhafi was captured and killed.

We haven't been able to confirm that ourselves but that is what is being widely reported by a number of newspapers and other TV stations here and online. And as I say we should get more details in about the next what 15 minutes, we're being told that we'll have a press conference with the Prime Minister of the NTC Mahmoud Jibril.

PHILLIPS: And we should -- we should point out as we're hearing Dan Rivers, we're seeing the pictures there, the celebratory pictures out of Tripoli where Dan is. If you're hearing gunfire in the background, that's celebratory gunfire as we monitor what's happening right there in Tripoli.

Dan Rivers, thanks so much, we'll continue to talk to you obviously throughout the morning.

GORANI: Well, those celebratory gunfire can sometimes be dangerous.


GORANI: Libyans have been warned about it over the last several weeks.

What happens next? Mark Ellis is in London. He's an executive with the International Bar Association. All right, if it is indeed confirmed that Moammar Gadhafi is dead today, presumably that's the end as far as the ICC is concerned.

MARK ELLIS, EXEC. DIR., INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION: It is. The case against Colonel Gadhafi would be dropped almost immediately and that certainly would be the case. I think there will be great disappointment in The Hague because the prosecutor went out of his way to quickly indict Mr. Gadhafi in really the fastest turn around that we've seen at the ICC or for that matter any international court.

The ICC really wanted to bring him to The Hague and to bring him to justice under judicial proceedings. So again, we'll be disappointed. But they will have no choice but to dismiss that case.

GORANI: What about the members of the Gadhafi family who are also under indictment by the ICC?

ELLIS: Yes, those cases are definitely still -- still relevant. And the -- if in fact, for instance, Gadhafi's son has been reported -- has been captured, then the ICC will pressure the Libyan authorities to transfer him to The Hague. That's really the requirement that came from the Security Council resolution that said that Libya and its governments have to -- have to cooperate with the ICC.

But it is possible. And we've seen this before where -- where the transitional council has suggested that -- that they have the right and the ability to try these individuals. And that may cause some conflict between the ICC and -- and the transitional government council because the ICC really has jurisdiction over these crimes with the exception of when a country is willing and able to undertake trials.

GORANI: Right.

ELLIS: And if this council argues that it can do so that that may be a conflict.

GORANI: Mark Ellis with the International Bar Association, thanks very much.

PHILLIPS: All right, we'll have more on the reported death of long-time Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. Coming up what role NATO air power played in that take down next.


PHILLIPS: If you're just tuning in this morning we're almost at the top of the hour 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. After 42 years of ruling Libya, reports now that Moammar Gadhafi has been captured and killed. We've been following this all morning. We'll continue to.

Let's get to Phil Black who's joining us now live from London. Here's there at 10 Downing Street. What do you know, Phil, and what are you hearing from your point?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that at this stage 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's office, is making no comment whatsoever. And they say that they like we are still waiting for some sort of confirmation out of Libya and it's highly unlikely that they're going to say anything before they receive that confirmation although they're obviously hopeful that that will come through some stage today.

Across Europe, other European governments are being equally cautious. They're all of a similar tone. Words to the effect of it if this is true, then it is great news for the Libyan people.

So cautious optimism ,I think, would describe the general tone from leaders in this part of the world so far. And it's wise and sensible. They have little choice to do so because of the fog of war and in particular because of the Libyan case where in many cases since the fall of Tripoli there have been enthusiastic claims about high ranking Gadhafi regime figures being caught. They've all proven to be not true so far.

PHILLIPS: Yes it's true. Phil Black thanks so much.

Hala, we are obviously not getting anything from the Prime Minister of London. We're not getting anything from the President of the United States. But rebels reporting that they have captured and killed Moammar Gadhafi.

GORANI: We've seen cell phones, screen grabs, we've heard from the National Transitional Council that Moammar Gadhafi is dead today. A new chapter for Libya or more hardship ahead for the country. We'll answer those questions after a quick break. You're watching CNN.