Muammar Gaddafi has been captured in Libya by rebel forces, according to a National Transitional Council official.
The former leader, who has been on the run with his family since August, is said to be wounded but still alive.
The deposed dictator was reportedly hiding in a hole shouting “don’t shoot, don’t shoot” when he was surrounded by revolutionary rebels in his hometown of Sirte.
Senior NTC official Abdel Majid told Reuters: “He’s captured. He’s wounded in both legs … He’s been taken away by ambulance.”
Al-Arabiya TV station ran conflicting reports claiming the dictator had been killed. Al Jazeera later made the same claims.
However, Sky News has reported Gaddafi’s capture, stating he was still alive and was wearing a military-style uniform when he was shot in both legs.
A spokesman for the US State Department would not confirm Gaddafi had been captured.
She added: “We’ve seen the media reports but can’t confirm them.”
It comes on the same day the rebels claimed they had taken control of Sirte.
The interim government fighters relaunched their offensive yesterday after being confronted by Gaddafi loyalists.
The besieged coastal town of Sirte had been surrounded for weeks as the struggle to capture Gaddafi – and officially end his 42-year rule – continued.
One NTC fighter at the front told Reuters: “All we can think of is catching the rat Gaddafi. We are taking it slowly, step by step. We have been patient for 42 years.”