Moammar Gadhafi Dead: How Rebels Killed the Dictator

Details surface of the hours and minutes that led up to the dictator's death.

ByABC News
October 21, 2011, 4:13 AM

Oct. 21, 2011— -- As NATO announced it will end its combat mission in Libya, celebrations continued in the country the day after Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebel forces in his hometown of Sirte, while details of the hours and minutes that led up to his death begin to surface.

Gadhafi's grisly final moments were captured on a grainy cell phone video that shows the former Libyan leader surrounded by a frenzied mob of rebels. Men are seen grabbing at him, propping him up, and pummeling him while he can be seen dazed, attempting speech and bleeding profusely.

The final hunt for Gadhafi began around 8 a.m. Thursday in Sirte, which is the former leader's hometown and was one of the final loyalist strongholds of his regime. The rebels who took control of Libya in February began what they hoped would be their final offensive to conquer the town.

As the rebels toppled Sirte, a U.S. drone, which was operated remotely from Las Vegas, alerted NATO of a fleeing 80-car convoy.

Soon French fighter jets responded with an airstrike, which took out two of the vehicles. It is still unclear if these French fighters hit Ghadafi's car, but when the rebels poured in they told the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse that the former leader was hiding in a drainage pipe.

"They say they discovered him [in the drainage pipe] just before 12 this afternoon. They pulled him out of the hole, and one fighter told me that Moammar Gadhafi said to him, 'What did I do to you?'" Gatehouse said.

This account of finding Ghadafi in the drainage pipe was confirmed by an English-speaking rebel fighter, who told ABC News, "We catch him there. We shot him."

In a video that surfaced Friday Gadhafi is heard repeatedly saying the phrase "Haram Aleiko," which is an Arabic expression that literally translated means "This is a sin for you." The phrase is generally used as a plea to convey the vulnerability of the victim.

The fatal shot that killed Ghadafi was reportedly fired by a young man donning a baseball cap with a Yankees logo. Afterwards he was photographed brandishing Gadhafi's vanquished golden gun.

Still unknown is the fate of Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, who played a prominent role taunting rebels throughout the seven-month revolution. There had been reports he had been captured or killed, but there are also reports that he was fleeing south in the Sahara Desert to Niger. It has been confirmed that one of Gadhafi's other sons, Muatassim, was also killed in Thursday's attack. He was a prominent military commander.

On Friday footage surfaced on Libyan television of Muatassim Gadhafi's body, which was being autopsied to determine his cause of death, according to Libyan TV.

Also dying alongside Gadhafi were some of his notorious female bodyguards -- who were often referred to as his Amazon Bodyguards.

Speaking with Al Arabya News, Ghadafi's former Internal Security chief Mansour Daw said that once national Transitional Council fighters destroyed all of their vehicles, Ghadafi and those with him began to flee Sirte on foot in different groups.

As news of the taking of Sirte and the death of Ghadafi spread across the globe, varying facts were reported by a number of sources; reports indicated that he had been taken alive and was wounded in both legs, while others said that he was killed.

U.S. officials used reliable sources on the ground from many different sources to confirm the facts. The same facial recognition technology used to identify Osama bin Laden was used to confirm that the death photos in fact were of Ghadafi , the self-styled "King of Kings."