A rebel fighter celebrates as his comrades fire a rocket barrage toward the positions of troops loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi west of Ajdabiyah, Libya. April 14, Credit: Chris Hondros. A rebel militiaman stands in the ashes of an alleged torture chamber of the former Libyan Internal Security force in Benghazi, Libya.
The notorious building was mostly burned in the uprising that drove loyalists to President Muammar Gaddafi out of Bengazi the week before. Credit: John Moore. A libyan rebel fighter runs up a burning stairwell during an effort to dislodge some ensconced government loyalist troops who were firing on them from an upstairs room during house-to-house fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata in Misrata, Libya. April 20, Libyans celebrated the first Eid Al-Fitr in 42 years under a new regime.
Credit: Daniel Berehulak. A Libyan National Transitional Council fighter fires a heavy machinegun at loyalist forces in central Sirte. Fighters of Libya's new regime launched a fresh assault on the desert oasis of Bani Walid as fighting died down in Sirte, the other main holdout of Muammar Gaddafi diehards. Credit: Ahmad Al-Rubaye. A Libyan rebel wounded during the battle for the control of the Brega flashes a victory sign as he is rushed into the emergency room at the general hospital in Ajdabiya.
July 17, Credit: Gianluigi Guercia. Rebel fighters carefully move into a building where they had trapped government loyalist troops during street fighting on Tripoli Street in downtown Misurata. Credit: Louafi Larbi. Supporters of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi gather to support their leader as rebels ceded ground to loyalist advancing forces today, and the United States came under increasing pressure to arm the opposition and the UN appointed a humanitarian envoy.
March 7, Credit: Mahmud Turkia. Credit: Majid Saeedi. Joyful Libyan rebels overran Muammar Gaddafi's Tripoli bastion on Tuesday, seizing weapons and loot and destroying symbols of a year dictatorship.
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Libyan National Transitional Council fighters fire at forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi during street battles in the neighborhoods of Dollar and Number 2 in Sirte. A National Transitional Council fighter screams after he was wounded by a mortar fired by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi during battles in Sirte. Credit: Aris Messinis. Fighters with the National Transitional Council from the Tripoli Brigade guard blindfolded prisoners, allegedly foreign fighters with loyalist troops, outside the restive city of Bani Walid one day after they took control over it after weeks of intense fightings with troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
Credit: Marco Longari. National Transitional Council fighters confiscate posters of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in the apartment of a man suspected of being a loyalist in the restive Abu Salim district of Tripoli. A Libyan National Transitional Council NTC fighter looks through a large concrete pipe where ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was allegedly captured, with a dead loyalist gunmen in the foreground, in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte. A grab from a video taken from the mobile phone of a National Transitional Council fighter shows the arrest of Libya's strongman Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte.
October 20, A Libyan rebel fighter stands in front of a closed shop in the embattled city of Zawiya, about 25 miles west of Tripoli. August 18, Credit: Marc Hofer. Related Stories.
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Khashoggi colleague: 'They took me away and they told me that I'm the target of a Saudi threat'. Dozens dead as Iraqi youth protest poverty, corruption and injustice. Trump scandal threatens to derail Ukraine's anti-corruption efforts. A plane carrying people blew up near Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all on board, with falling debris killing 11 civilians on the ground. Libyan terrorists, including an in-law of Qaddafi's, were also believed to be behind the destruction of a French passenger jet in , killing all on board.
In s, the relationship between Qaddafi and the West began to thaw. As Qaddafi faced a growing threat from Islamists who opposed his rule, he began to share information with the British and American intelligence services.
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In , Nelson Mandela persuaded the Libyan leader to hand over the suspects from the Lockerbie bombing. It wasn't long before Qaddafi had mended relations with the West on many fronts. Qaddafi's son and heir apparent, Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, mixed with London's high society for several years. Many critics of the newfound friendship of Qaddafi and the West believed it was based on business and access to oil. In , the United Nations eased sanctions on Libya, and foreign oil companies worked out lucrative new contracts to operate in the country.
The influx of money to Libya made Qaddafi, his family and his associates even wealthier. The disparity between the ruling family and the masses became ever more apparent. After more than four decades in power, Qaddafi's downfall happened in less than a year. The next month, Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak was forced out, providing a morale boost to protesters in several Arab capitals.
Despite the atmosphere of severe repression, demonstrations broke out in the city of Benghazi and spread throughout Libya. Qaddafi used aggressive force to try to suppress the protests, and the violence quickly escalated.
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Police and foreign mercenaries were brought in to shoot at protesters, and helicopters were sent to bombard citizens from the air. As violence spread through the country, Qaddafi made several rambling speeches on state television, claiming the demonstrators were traitors, foreigners, al-Qaeda and drug addicts. He urged his supporters to continue the fight, and small groups of heavily armed loyalists battled against the rebels.
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By the end of February , the opposition had gained control over much of the country, and the rebels formed a governing body called the National Transitional Council. The opposition surrounded Tripoli, where Qaddafi still had some support. Most of the international community expressed support for the NTC and called for the ouster of Qaddafi.
At the end of March, a NATO coalition began to provide support for the rebel forces in the form of airstrikes and a no-fly zone. NATO's military intervention over the next six months proved to be decisive. When Tripoli fell to rebel forces in late August, it was seen as a major victory for the opposition and a symbolic end for Qaddafi's rule. In June , the International Criminal Court issued warrants for the arrest of Qaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law for crimes against humanity.
Qaddafi had lost control of Libya, but his whereabouts were still unknown. Early reports had conflicting accounts of his death, with some stating that he had been killed in a gun battle and others claiming that he had been targeted by a NATO aerial attack. Video circulated of Qaddafi's bloodied body being dragged around by fighters.
For months, Qaddafi and his family had been at large, believed to be hiding in the western part of the country where they still had small pockets of support. As news of the former dictator's death spread, Libyans poured into the streets, celebrating the what many hailed as the culmination of their revolution. Post Qaddafi, Libya has continued to be embroiled in violence. With state authority eventually being held by the General National Congress, various militia groups have vied for power. Dozens of political figures and activists in Benghazi have been killed, with many having to leave the area.
The country has also seen a succession of interim prime ministers. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Sign up for the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. As the successor to his father, Hafez, Bashar al-Assad has continued with his father's brutal rule of Syria.
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