Libyan TV, Associated Press
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed today as his hometown fell to the one-time rebels who ousted him, ending the last vestiges of control for the man once hailed as the "king of kings of Africa."
Here's a running account of the day's developments. The times, which indicate when each update was filed, are local in Libya unless otherwise noted. Libyan time is two hours ahead of GMT and six hours ahead of EDT.
Gadhafi's death is this year's latest foreign policy victory for the Obama administration, including the killing of Osama bin Laden and the recent strike against a radical U.S.-born cleric in Yemen.
While the U.S. briefly took the lead in the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, America quickly took a secondary role to its allies. Obama said the joint international effort showed what can be achieved by collective action
A diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said the operation could wind up in the next day or two if NATO commanders confirm there's no need for it to continue.
BREAKING: Diplomats say NATO will decide Friday to end the aerial campaign over Libya.
"We want him alive! We want him alive!" one man shouts in video footage of fighters pulling a wounded Gadhafi toward an ambulance by the hair.
Later footage showed fighters rolling Gadhafi's lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head.
Gadhafi's death is a major boost for the men who once called themselves rebels and are now leading Libya.
The transitional government got more support today from the Vatican. After weeks of contacts with the new leadership, a Vatican statement says "the Holy See considers it the legitimate representation of the Libyan people, conforming to international law."
Many backers of the one-time rebels say they will need all the support they can get.
"This is only the end of the beginning of the road ahead for Libya and its people," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. A U.N. Security Council resolution authorized airstrikes to protect civilians from Gadhafi's regime and led to the NATO campaign that helped push him from power.
Gadhafi is the first strongman killed by his people in this year's uprisings in the Arab world.
President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the former leader of Tunisia, fled to Saudi Arabia and was tried in absentia in his homeland. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is on trial now. Bashar Assad and Ali Abdullah Saleh are still clinging to power in Syria and Yemen despite daily protests against their regimes.
One comparison might be former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was found in hiding by U.S. troops. Saddam was tried and hanged by the Iraqi government. Gadhafi's only daughter, Aisha, was a lawyer who helped in Saddam's unsuccessful legal defense.
BREAKING: Obama says Gadhafi's death "marks the end of a long and painful chapter" for Libya, adding that the world can say definitively that Gadhafi's regime has come to an end.
New details are emerging from Gadhafi's last hours, including some that appear contradictory:
Most accounts agree Gadhafi had been holed up with armed supporters in the last few buildings held by loyalists in his hometown, furiously battling advancing revolutionary fighters.
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