Tripoli, Oct 20: French warplanes and a U.S. Predator drone on Thursday morning attacked a giant convoy of more than 100 four-wheel drive vehicles fleeing west out of Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.
CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported that the convoy tried to evade the aircraft by splitting into smaller parts, but at least 15 of them were hit and their occupants killed.
The vehicle, which turned out to be carrying Gaddafi, was damaged but not destroyed.
The CBS report said Gaddafi and his bodyguards abandoned the vehicle and took cover in drainage pipes running under the highway where they were cornered by a band of anti-Qaddafi fighters.
Already festooned with graffiti, it is where Gaddafi, who once lived in splendor, made his last stand. Who shot him is still a mystery. According to one account, it was his own bodyguards, one of whom can be seen lying dead on the ground -- presumably to spare him from being captured.
Grandiose to the end, Gaddafi was armed with a golden pistol, which is now a prize trophy for rebels who eight months ago didn't stand a chance against one of the world's most repressive regimes.
As the gruesome video shows, Gaddafi was taken alive and handled roughly. Whether he would have survived his wounds with better treatment is not known. One of his sons was also killed Thursday and another reported captured.
With most of Gaddafi's inner circle either dead, captured or in exile, NATO -- after flying more than 26,000 missions -- can now end its bombing campaign. That could happen as soon as Friday although reconnaissance flights are likely to continue a while longer.