Libya's interim government will hand the body of slain despot Muammar Qadhafi to his relatives after consulting with them on the location of his burial, said a senior government adviser on Sunday.

“The decision has been taken to hand him over to his extended family, because none of his immediate family are present at this moment,” Ahmed Jibril told AFP.

“The NTC [National Transitional Council] are in consultation with his family. It is for his family to decide where Qadhafi will be buried, in consultation with the NTC,” he added.

Mr. Jibril, who is an adviser to the new regime's interim Premier Mahmud Jibril, declined to say when the transfer would take place.

Since he was killed on Thursday, as he tried to flee his hometown of Sirte, Qadhafi's body has been held in a refrigerated chamber outside Misrata, drawing large crowds wanting to view the remains of the despot who ruled Libya with an iron fist for decades.

The NTC has been reticent about plans for his burial, not wishing to see the grave become a rallying point for residual loyalists, and NTC leaders and military officials have indicated that he would be buried in a secret location.

Disquiet has grown internationally over how Qadhafi met his end on Thursday after NTC fighters hauled him out of a culvert where he was hiding following NATO air strikes on the convoy in which he had been trying to flee his falling hometown.

An autopsy confirmed that Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi died from a gunshot to the head, the country's chief pathologist said on Sunday, just hours before Libya's new leaders were to declare liberation and a formal end to an eight-month civil war to topple the longtime ruler's regime.

The declaration starts the clock on a transition to democracy that is fraught with uncertainty and could take up to two years.

However, international concern about the circumstances of Qadhafi's death and indecision over what to do with his remains overshadowed what was to be a joyful day.

The pathologist would not disclose details or elaborate on Qadhafi's final moments, saying he would first deliver a full report to the Attorney-General.

Libya's interim leaders are to formally declare later on Sunday that the country has been liberated.

The ceremony is to take place in the eastern city of Benghazi, the revolution's birthplace.

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