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NATO Mission In Libya To End Oct. 31

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today that NATO had made a preliminary decision to end its mission in Libya on Oct. 31.

The AP reports:

He said Friday the bloc made a preliminary decision to end air operation on Oct. 31, and will make a formal decision next week.

After Libya's former rebels killed Gadhafi on Thursday, officials said they expected the aerial operation to end very soon.

The success of the military operation has helped reinvigorate the Cold War alliance and polished the reputation of France and Britain, the two countries that drove it forward.

Reuters adds that Rasmussen said until Oct. 31, NATO will maintain the ability launch air attacks.

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved, together with our partners, including many from the region," Rasmussen said. Ramussen was also asked about the whereabouts of Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi, Moammar Gadhafi's son and heir apparent. Ramussen said NATO had no knowledge of his whereabouts.

Earlier today, Libya's Transitional National Council announced that it would officially declare Libya "liberated" on Sunday. Reuters reports:

"It will be on Sunday afternoon at around 4 pm (1400 GMT)," TNC Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told Reuters. "It will be a public announcement, I think in the main square of Benghazi by (NTC chairman) Mustafa Abdel Jalil."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.