Cameron ‘proud’ after Gaddafi death

By Alex Stevenson

David Cameron has spoken of his pride in Britain's role in removing Muammar Gaddafi from power, after confirmation of the renegade leader's violent death.

Colonel Gaddafi is thought to have been killed while attempting to flee from national transitional council forces fighting in Sirte, according to reports.

News of his death will seriously undermine further opposition by insurgents to the NTC as it seeks to consolidate its power in Tripoli.

In a brief statement in Downing Street, Mr Cameron said today was "a day to remember all of Colonel Gaddafi's victims".

He cited those who died in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, PC Yvonne Fletcher and all victims of IRA terrorism killed by Libyan-supplied Semtex.

"We should also remember the many, many Libyans who died at the hands of this brutal dictator and his regime," he said.

"People in Libya today have an even greater chance, after this news, of building themselves a strong and democratic future.

"I'm proud of the role that Britain has played in helping them to bring that about and I pay tribute to the bravery of the Libyans who have helped to liberate their country.

"We will help them, we will work with them."

Libyan prime minister Mahmoud Jabril had confirmed the news in a press conference in Tripoli.

Meanwhile Libyan ambassador Mahmoud al-Naku said that the NTC would begin to "establish their transition in government to prepare the country for the future of the elections".

He added: "I think all the world will celebrate this day."

News of the former dictator's violent death slowly emerged this afternoon with pictures emerging of Col Gaddafi's bloody body.

It was not immediately clear whether he had been killed as a result of a Nato air strike or in a firefight with forces loyal to the national transitional council.

Those participating in the Nato mission protecting civilians in Libya are now considering the likelihood that operations could be wrapped up as early as the end of the month.

"It brings much closer the end of the Nato mission," foreign secretary William Hague said.

"I think we'll want to be sure there aren't other pockets of pro-Gaddafi forces still able to threaten the civilian population. When we're sure there is no further threat to the civilian population or when the NTC ask us to pull out, we will do so."

Col Gaddafi was shot in both legs but is thought to have died after being shot in the head.

The fugitive ex-leader was reportedly captured alive but died soon afterwards. Conflicting reports are emerging about the fate of his sons, including Saif al-Islam who is believed to have been killed in a separate incident.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said Col Gaddafi's death marked the end of a period of "brutality and repression" in Libya.

"I pay tribute to the Libyan people for standing up to the former regime and seeking to define their own democratic destiny," he said.

"We should be proud of the support that our armed forces have given to that cause."

The leader of the opposition said he hoped that today marked the start of a "period of stability" in which a smooth transition to democratic government would take place.

Mr Miliband added: "Britain should stand ready to continue to help the National Transitional Council as it seeks to improve economic and social conditions, ensure order and prepare for elections."