WASHINGTON - US politicians welcomed Muammar Gaddafi's death on Thursday and US President Barack Obama planned to speak about the demise of Libya's autocratic ruler who was for decades regarded as a nemesis by Washington.
The reaction reflected a long, tortured history with the Libyan strongman, viewed by most Americans as a villain for his government's links to the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Scotland and a 1986 disco bombing in Berlin that targeted US troops.
Even as world leaders weighed in after Libya's interim leaders announced Gaddafi's death, the White House tread more carefully. But a White House official said Obama would provide further confirmation when he steps before the cameras at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) in the Rose Garden.
The Obama administration was likely to tout the end of Gaddafi as vindication for a cautious "leading from behind" strategy that had drawn criticism at home for casting the United States in a support role in the NATO air assault in Libya.
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