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Gadhafi's Funeral Delayed; Questions Persist On Final Moments

The funeral for former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi was to have taken place Friday, in keeping with Islamic tradition that bodies be buried as soon as possible. But a host of concerns have caused the body to be placed in temporary storage instead — and an inquiry may be launched into how he died.

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET: Several news agencies have confirmed that a U.S. Predator drone aided the attack on a large convoy as it attempted to leave Sirte Thursday — and that Gadhafi was in the convoy. The air attack, by at least one drone and several French jets, was reported by The Daily Telegraph Thursday. More details of the drone's role in the attack are on Wire's site.

Update at 12:10 p.m. ET: The AP reports that Gadhafi's body is being stored in the town of Misrata, in a shopping center's commercial freezer. The freezer was reportedly cleared out before the corpse was put there, in an attempt to keep it away from prying eyes.

But it's evidently not a well-kept secret. An AP reporter visited, and viewed the body:

 

 

Outside the shopping center, hundreds of civilians from Misrata jostled to get inside for a peek at the body, shouting "God is great" and "We want to see the dog."

 

 

Our original post continues:

The dictator was found and killed in his hometown of Sirte Thursday, after eight months of unrest and violence in Libya.

Here are some of the open questions concerning Libya:

After videos surfaced that prove the deposed leader was alive when he was found by fighters loyal to the new government, the U.N. Human Rights Council is calling for an investigation.

One of those videos was published on the Global Post site. The jerky (and graphic) cellphone video shows a wounded Gadhafi, surrounded by a frenzied crowd of men. That video, when seen in the context of one from moments later that shows Gadhafi's corpse, is "very disturbing," says a U.N. representative.

"There's a lot of uncertainty about what happened exactly. There seem to be four or five different versions of how he died," U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville tells Reuters TV.

There is even confusion over the former leader's last words. According to The Telegraph and other sources, Gadhafi's final words were "Don't shoot." That's reportedly what he said when he was first discovered in a drainage pipe. But according to MSNBC, another translation has the dictator asking, just before losing consciousness, "Do you know right from wrong?"

Libya's National Transitional Council also faces a dilemma: how to bury Gadhafi in a way that doesn't offend Islamic law — but also doesn't provide Gadhafi loyalists with a rallying point or pilgrimage site. There is evidently disagreement within the new government over how best to handle the situation.

Similar questions surrounded the death of Osama bin Laden, whose body was buried at sea, according to reports.

Late Thursday, NATO confirmed that it would be winding down its mission in Libya.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

 

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