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      Libyan rebels claim Gadhafi dead

      Libyan fighters celebrate in the streets of Sirte Libya in this image taken from TV Thursday. / AP photo

      CHRISTOPHER GILLETTE and RAMI AL-SHAHEIBI, Associated Press

      SIRTE, Libya (AP) " Officials in Libya's transitional government said Moammar Gadhafi has been captured and possibly killed in the fall of his hometown Sirte on Thursday. But there was no confirmation from the country's most senior leaders.

      Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said he has confirmed that Gadhafi was dead from fighters who said they saw the body. He said he expects the prime minister to confirm the death soon, noting that past reports emerged "before making 100 percent confirmation."

      "Our people in Sirte saw the body ... Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will confirm it soon," he told The Associated Press. "Revolutionaries say Gadhafi was in a convoy and that they attacked the convoy."

      Read more NTC says Gadhafi captured, died Gadhafi dies of wounds? Gadhafi captured?

      Col. Roland Lavoie, spokesman for NATO's operational headquarters in Naples, Italy, said the alliance's aircraft Thursday morning struck two vehicles of pro-Gadhafi forces "which were part of a larger group maneuvering in the vicinity of Sirte."

      But NATO officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance to alliance rules, said the alliance also could not independently confirm whether Gadhafi was killed or captured.

      The spokesman for Libya's transitional government, Jalal al-Gallal, and its military spokesman Abdul-Rahman Busin said the reports have not been confirmed.

      The caution in making a definitive announcement came because past reports of Gadhafi family deaths or captures have later proven incorrect, even after they were announced by officials, because of the confusion among the revolutionary forces' ranks and the multiple bodies involved in commanding their fighters.

      The Misrata Military Council, one of the command groups, said its fighters captured Gadhafi. Another commander, Abdel-Basit Haroun, says Gadhafi was killed when the airstrike hit the fleeing convoy.

      Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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