News / Africa

US Praises Libyan Rebels for Reorganizing Leadership

Children climb over the wreckage of a school that Libyan officials say was bombed by NATO forces in the town of Zlitan, east of Tripoli, August 4, 2011
Children climb over the wreckage of a school that Libyan officials say was bombed by NATO forces in the town of Zlitan, east of Tripoli, August 4, 2011

The United States is praising the decision by Libya's rebels to reorganize their leadership following last month's mysterious killing of a rebel military chief.

A State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday the opposition Transitional National Council is trying to reassure Libyans that by reshuffling, it has a democratic and transparent leadership group. She said the U.S. welcomes the goal of the council's chief, Mahmoud Jibril, to form a new executive committee as quickly and openly as possible.

On Monday, the opposition group dismissed its executive branch to ease tensions involving last month's assassination of General Abdel Fattah Younes. His death has been considered a setback for the rebels and a sign of infighting within the group.

More than 30 countries, including the U.S., France and Britain, have recognized the opposition council as Libya's interim government.   

On Tuesday, the council officially took over Libya's embassy in London.  That embassy was previously staffed by members of the government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Also Tuesday, Libya accused NATO forces of killing dozens of civilians in a village near the western town of Zlitan, but the alliance said there was no immediate evidence of civilian casualties.

Libyan authorities said 85 people in Majar village were killed late Monday in allied airstrikes over the region. State-run television showed video of what it said were victims of the strikes, including women and small children.

NATO said its warplanes hit targets in the Zlitan area Monday, but an alliance spokesman denied evidence of civilian casualties.

Separately, rebels said two people died after pro-government forces and opposition fighters clashed near the strategic oil port of Brega.

In other news, Canada ordered all remaining Libyan diplomats at the embassy in Ottawa to leave the country, in an effort to "isolate and delegitimize" Gadhafi's government.

The Gadhafi government has been widely criticized for responding to unrest and pro-democracy demonstrations with a fierce crackdown.  Canada is taking part in the NATO mission that is helping rebel fighters in the violent struggle against loyalist forces.

 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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