Gaddafi's Body To Go To His Extended Family

Colonel Gaddafi's dead body is to be handed to his extended family in a deal reached with Libya's interim government, Sky News has learned.

The National Transitional Council's (NTC) foreign affairs spokesman Ahmed Gebreel said the handover may be imminent.

But he admitted it had not yet been decided where the dictator will be buried, which will be crucial to avoid his grave becoming a shrine.

Mr Gebreel told Sky News: "I think the decision has been taken already, which is to hand over the body of Gaddafi to his extended family.

"There are consultations between the NTC and with people from Sirte on whom the body should be handed over to.

"Some [relatives] are in Sirte and some in other cities. We expect this to happen very soon. If not in the coming hours, it will be in a few days."

He added: "There are consultations between the NTC and Gaddafi's family. It is in the interests of his family and the whole country to bury Gaddafi in a secret place but this has not been decided yet."

Military commanders had earlier said there would be no post-mortem on the body despite ongoing concerns about how Gaddafi died.

Meanwhile, the country's interim prime minister has vowed that elections to select a national council will be held within eight months.

The council will then draft a new constitution and form an interim government.

Mahmoud Jibril said the priority following Gaddafi's death on Thursday was to remove weapons from the streets and restore order.

A process of national reconciliation will now follow, starting with the formal declaration of Libya's "liberation" in Benghazi on Sunday.

Mr Jibril insisted the deposed dictator had been killed in crossfire after he was captured alive and was being driven away.

He claimed he died during a gunfight between Gaddafi's followers and forces loyal to the NTC in his home town of Sirte.

But a top UN human rights chief has raised concerns the tyrant could have been killed by revolutionary fighters after footage emerged of him being taken alive, then dead.

The US has urged the Libyan authorities to determine the circumstances of his death in an "open and transparent manner".

Libya's interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said an investigation was being carried out.

But Misratah military council spokesman Fathi al Bashaagha said: "There will be no post-mortem today, nor any day. No one is going to open up his body."

His comments were confirmed by two other Misratah military commanders.

Gaddafi's body is currently being kept in a freezer in a shopping centre in Misratah, where hundreds have been queueing to catch a glimpse.

Sky News has seen the death certificate, which states he had gunshot wounds to the left side of his head and his chest.

Meanwhile, a military spokesman has said Libya's transitional government will declare a day of liberation on Sunday - officially marking the end of the Gaddafi regime.

As celebrations continue across the country, Col Gaddafi's burial continues to be delayed, with officials divided over what to do with his body.

The tyrant's family have said in a statement to a Syria-based pro-Gaddafi TV station that they want his body, along with that of his dead son Mutassim , returned to Sirte so it can be buried.

Col Gaddafi's widow Safia, who fled to Algeria in August, called on the UN to investigate the circumstances of her husband's death, it was reported.

His bloodied remains were taken to the city of Misratah on Thursday after he was captured and killed.

The authorities have promised to bury him quickly in accordance with Islamic traditions.

But information minister Mahmoud Shammam said the funeral was being delayed because officials were debating "what the best place is to bury him".

The reality of the 42-year ruler's grisly end is sinking in after footage emerged of him laid out in the vegetable chilling room of a shop.

Many residents in Misratah, where fighters have claimed ownership of the corpse, have queued up to catch a glimpse of the 69-year-old.

Also, Libya's wanted ex-intelligence chief Abdullah al Senussi has reportedly surfaced in neighbouring Niger after apparently fleeing through the desert following the fall of the town of Bani Walid on Monday.

NTC officials said Col Gaddafi's son Saif, previously seen as his father's heir apparent, may have fled to Niger as well.

Meanwhile, Sky sources have revealed another of his sons - Saadi - tried to broker a deal to save him 10 days before he was captured and killed. He is said to have phoned the most senior military leader in Tripoli, but his plea was rebuffed.

The despot - who had repeatedly dubbed opposition fighters "rats" - was found cowering in a storm drain following Nato strikes on a convoy apparently fleeing the besieged town.

A clip was released showing Col Gaddafi clearly still alive in the hands of fighters. Later he is seen dead - and the exact manner of his death remains unclear.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the last moments of Col Gaddafi - who was wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes - were disturbing.

"More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture," Mr Colville said.

Nato said on Friday it would end its campaign in Libya by the end of the month, and the ruling NTC is preparing a timetable that calls for a new interim government within a month and elections within eight months.

The Western-backed organisation has been united behind its goal of ousting Gaddafi and must now work to rebuild the oil-rich North African nation.

Mutassim Gaddafi, who had been his father's feared national security adviser, was captured alive separately in Sirte, and how he died also remains unknown.

Pictures have emerged that show him drinking water and smoking a cigarette, with a large blood stain on his shirt. Later there are images of his dead body.

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