Former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi killed

Muammar Gadaffi was confirmed dead on Thursday, Oct. 20 after rebel forces overran Sirte, the Libyan ex-leader’s hometown and the last bastion for the loyalist faction.

According to Al Jazeera, both the former leader and his son, Mutassim Gadaffi, were killed “following an apparent attempt to flee the besieged coastal city which came under fire from French warplanes and a U.S. drone aircraft.”

Though the circumstances surrounding Gadaffi’s death were unclear as of Thursday, political leaders and citizenry alike were quick to identify the event as a turning point and a sign of better things to come for the Libyan people. Most expressed the prevailing sentiment that, with the old regime effectively dissolved, the Libyan civil war was effectively at an end; whether or not the fighting continues amongst the rebel and loyalist factions remains to be seen.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” de facto Libyan prime minister Mahmoud Jibril said. “Muammar Gadaffi has been killed.”

“I’m so proud now,” a Tripoli resident told Al Jazeera amidst a citywide celebration. “It’s a new era. Look to our eyes and you’ll see happiness.”

“For four decades, the Gaddafi regime ruled the Libyan people with an iron fist,” President Obama said in an official statement on Thursday. “Their human rights were denied. Innocent civilians were detained, beaten and killed. Libya’s wealth was squandered and enormous potential of Libyan people was held back and terror was used as a political weapon. Today we can definitively say that the Gaddafi regime has come to an end.”

“This day marks a historic transition for Libya,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated. “In the coming days, we will witness scenes of celebration as well as grief for those who lost so much.

“Now is the time for all Libyans to come together,” he continued. “Libyans can only realize the promise of the future for national unity and reconciliation. Combatants on all sides must lay down their arms in peace. This is the time for healing and rebuilding, for generosity of spirit, not for revenge.”

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