National Transitional Council leaders paid tribute on Sunday to the thousands who died in the eight-month battle to oust Moamer Kadhafi, at a ceremony to declare Libya finally free of the dictator.
Abdel Rahman al-Kabisi, minister of martyrs and the wounded, told the gathering, attended by thousands of flag waving Libyans in Benghazi's Kish Square, that the event marked "a great historic moment in beloved Libya's history."
"Oh pharaoh of the century (Kadhafi), you are now in the bin of history... in a stroke of fate ... you have been thrown into the bin of history. Go to hell," he thundered.
"The issue of the martyrs, the wounded and the missing is a priority for Libya's government."
Abdel Salam al-Musmari, a lawyer and coordinator of revolutionary forces, too paid homage to the thousands who were killed.
"We must remember and we must thank the martyrs of Libya's freedom who sacrificed their lives to get rid of this dictator," he said.
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"We tell them -- our innocent martyrs, our wounded, our prisoners, our missing -- your blood, your sacrifice are the salt of the earth that purified Libya of dictatorship and corruption."
The ceremony, which comes three days after the ousted despot was captured and killed, was to be addressed by Libya's interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who would formally proclaim the oil-rich North African nation "liberated" of the last vestiges of Kadhafi's almost 42-year autocratic rule.
General Omar al-Hariri, head of the NTC's military council added his own tribute.
"I salute our innocent martyrs who built the road to freedom ... and I hope our wounded will heal soon and hope the missing will return to their country to take part in the construction of Libya, Libya the free," he said.
"We make no difference between the civilian revolutionary forces and the national army ... their blood was mixed from the beginning," the general said.
"For more than 40 years we lived hostages to a tyrant ... who had a sick mind. I promise you that the national army will be rebuilt... will no longer take orders from tyrants.
"Freedom is great, its price is great ... so bite into it. Preserving it is more difficult than obtaining it."