This is the image that confirms Muammar Gaddafi is dead, according to Libyan rebels.

Covered in blood and slumped against a rebel fighter, the deposed leader was reportedly attacked as he hid in a hole shouting “don’t shoot, don’t shoot”.

He was shot in both legs and in the head, according to reports.

Mahmoud Jibril, the interim prime minister, confirmed Gaddafi’s death. He told a news conference in Tripoli: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

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A US official said Libyan leaders had confirmed Gaddafi’s death at 3.15pm GMT.

National Transitional Council spokesman Abdel Hafez Ghoga said: “We announce to the world that Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolution.

“It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Gaddafi has met his fate.”

Senior military officer Khalifa Haftar told AFP: “Sirte has been liberated, and with the confirmation that Gaddafi is dead.

“Those who were fighting with Gaddafi have either been killed or captured.”

It comes after Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte was surrounded by fighters supporting the NTC.

Initial reports confirmed the former leader, who has been on the run with his family since August, had been captured and wounded. 

Senior NTC official Abdel Majid told Reuters Gadaffi had been gunned down as he tried to escape: “He [Gaddafi] was also hit in his head. There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

Al-Arabiya and Al Jazeera TV stations are also reporting the dictator had been killed.

And the rebels have released mobile phone footage which shows Gaddafi being manhandled.

London’s Ministry of Defence confirmed NATO warplanes today attacked vehicles fleeing Sirte.

“It was targeted on the basis that this was the last of the pro-Gaddafi forces fleeing Sirte,” a spokesman said.

However, it is unknown whether Gaddafi was inside any of the vehicles.

Gaddafi, who was given the title “Mad Dog” by US president Ronald Reagan, was chased out of Tripoli when rebel forces took control last month.

He was quoted as saying: “”I am not going to leave this land, I will die here as a martyr … I shall remain here defiant.”

President Barak Obama’s officials are working to confirm the reports that Gaddafi is dead.

The US initially led the air strikes against Gaddafi but headed over to NATO while taking a secondary role to Britain and France.

Gaddafi’s reported death 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.”