Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Muammar Gaddafi: Life in pictures

Muammar Gaddafi, 1970

Muammar Gaddafi was born in the desert near Sirte in 1942. He first hatched plans to topple the Libyan monarchy at military college.

The deposed King Idris I of Libya (1890 - 1983) receives a warm welcome upon his yearly visit to Kamena Vourla in Greece, 1969

In 1969, Gaddafi seized power from King Idris in bloodless coup while the ruler was on a visit to Greece for health reasons.

Colonel Moammar Gaddafi and Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser in Morrocco, 1969

At first, Col Gadaffi pursued Arab nationalist policies. Resources were brought under state control and alliances forged with nearby Arab nations.

A monument featuring a clenched fist crushing a U.S. fighter aircraft is seen outside the former residence of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi,

In April 1986, US President Ronald Reagan ordered aircraft to bomb Tripoli, Benghazi and military bases. The raid was in response to the bombing of a Berlin nightclub, frequented by US soldiers.

Police officers surround Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher, who is thought to have been shot by a gunman from inside the Libyan embassy in central London April 17, 1984

The UK brought diplomatic links to an immediate end when Wpc Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead in St James's Square, London. The bullet which killed her was fired from inside the Libyan embassy.

Pan Am Flight 103 remains landed in and around the town of Lockerbie

In 1988, a Pan Am passenger jet exploded over the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, killing 270 people. Following an investigation the US said it had evidence Libyan agents planted a bomb on the plane.

Libyan Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi escorted by security officers before appearing at the Supreme court for a hearing in connection with the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

But in April 1999, Libya started to mend relations with the West by handing over two secret agents accused of the Lockerbie bombing. One was convicted by a Scottish court, the other was acquitted.

Tony Blair meets Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi on May 29, 2007 in Sirte, Libya.

Col Gadaffi then paid compensation to victims of the bombing and renounced plans to acquire weapons of mass destruction. He was rewarded by a full restoration of diplomatic ties.

Africa's kings around Col Gaddafi

In the meantime, Col Gadaffi had given up trying to unite the Arab world and concentrated on Africa instead. In 2008, he was named Africa's "king of kings" by a gathering of traditional rulers.

Col Gadaffi arriving at the African Union summit on 1 February 2009

This was a prelude to him being elected African Union chairman. However, other African leaders are wary of his plans to create a United States of Africa, with a single government.

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