Gaddafi family demands body; NATO ends Libya war

Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:11pm EDT
 
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By Rania El Gamal

MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) - NATO called an end to its air war in Libya, and the clan of Muammar Gaddafi demanded a chance to bury the body that lay on display in a meat locker after a death as brutal and chaotic as his 42-year rule.

In a statement on a Syria-based pro-Gaddafi television station, the ousted dictator's family asked for the bodies of Gaddafi, his son Mo'tassim, and others who were killed on Thursday by fighters who overran his hometown Sirte.

"We call on the UN, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Amnesty International to force the Transitional Council to hand over the martyrs' bodies to our tribe in Sirte and to allow them to perform their burial ceremony in accordance with Islamic customs and rules," the statement said.

At an understated and sparsely-attended news conference late on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Western alliance had taken a preliminary decision to call a halt to Operation Unified Protector on October 31.

Like other Western officials, Rasmussen expressed no regrets in public about the gruesome death of the deposed Libyan dictator, who was captured alive by the forces of the National Transitional Council but was brought dead to a hospital.

"We mounted a complex operation with unprecedented speed and conducted it with the greatest of care," Rasmussen said. "I'm very proud of what we have achieved."

The NATO operation, officially intended to protect civilians, effectively ended on Thursday with French warplanes blasting Gaddafi's convoy as he and others tried to escape a final stand in Sirte.

Gaddafi was captured wounded but alive hiding in a drain under a road. The world has since seen grainy film of him being roughed up by his captors while he pleads with them to respect his rights.   Continued...

 
<p>Men take pictures of Muammar Gaddafi's corpse displayed at a house in Misrata, October 20, 2011. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani</p>