Nightly News   |  October 20, 2011

NATO carried airstrike in Sirte

NATO confirmed Thursday that it had carried out an airstrike on a convoy near Sirte, where Moammar Gadhafi died. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: So what role did the US play in this? If not in his actual death, firing the last shot, but more like knowing where Gadhafi was. Tonight our man at the Pentagon , Jim Miklaszewski has details on that. Jim , good evening.

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI reporting: Good evening, Brian . Based on intelligence, US military Predator drones were focused on a possible target for weeks and eventually played a critical role in taking down Gadhafi . As Libyan rebels turned up their assault on Gadhafi 's hometown of Sirte , part of their drones circled overhead, providing surveillance 24/7, just waiting for Gadhafi to make a run for it. So when Gadhafi 's convoy took off today, the Predator was ready. It fired off a Hellfire missile , and along with several rockets from a NATO war plane, destroyed many of the vehicles. Now, Gadhafi survived the airstrike but was eventually captured and killed with a single bullet to the head. But tonight US military officials admit they weren't absolutely certain that Gadhafi was in that convoy; but frankly, Brian , they were pretty much poised to take out anything that moved.

WILLIAMS: Jim Miklaszewski , an update from the Pentagon tonight. Jim , thanks.