Libyan Rebel Leader Shot Dead

World | July 29, 2011, Friday // 08:46|  views

Libyan rebels soldiers take part in a training to be ready for the frontline near Misrata, Libya. EPA/BGNES

Abdel Fatah Younis, head of Libya's rebel armed forces, and two of his bodyguards have been killed by gunmen, the rebel leadership said Thursday.

The death of Younis was announced at a press conference in the rebel capital, Benghazi, by the head of the rebels' National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

Younis was part of the group which staged the 1969 coup that brought Gaddafi to power and was interior minister until February 2011, when he defected to the rebels' side, according to a report of the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA).

"We received news today that ... Younis and two of his bodyguards were shot at after he was called in to appear before a judical committee investigating military issues," Abdel-Jalil told reporters.

Younis was shot before appearing for an interrogation over suspicions his family still had ties to Gaddafi's regime.

The leader of the armed group which shot him dead was arrested by the rebel security forces.

Younis was involved in a dispute over the leadership of the rebel forces, with many rebels feeling uneasy about the fact that the military commander had until recently maintained close friendship with Gaddafi.

Abdel-Jalil called Younis "one of the heroes of the 17th of February revolution," which marks the onset of the early protests against Gaddafi's regime.

The National Transitional Council had reportedly pulled Younis from the front line of the conflict amid rumors that he had carried out secret talks with Gaddafi's government.

Younis' home in Benghazi was guarded by armed forces.

 Soon after the announcement of his death, three explosions rattled Libya's capital Tripoli.

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Tags: Libya, rebels, National Transitional Council, Gaddafi, Gaddafi regime


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