Muammar Gaddafi was killed on Thursday as Libya’s new leaders declared they had overrun the last bastion of his long rule, sparking wild celebrations that eight months of war may finally be over.
Details of the death near Sirte of the fallen strongman were hazy but it was announced by several officials of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and backed up by a photograph of a bloodied face ringed by familiar, Gaddafi-style curly hair.
"He was killed in an attack by the fighters. There is footage of that," the NTC's information minister, Mahmoud Shammam, told Reuters.
Western powers, who have backed the rebellion which took the capital Tripoli two months ago, said they were still checking. NATO said its aircraft fired on a convoy near Sirte earlier, but would not confirm reports that Gaddafi had been a passenger.
Several NTC fighters in Sirte said they had seen Gaddafi shot dead, though their accounts varied.